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Tropical Ecology Institute

Curriculum

Who lives in Belize?

Grade Level: 3-5

Author: Scott Byington, Cary, NC

Background:

Animals live in habitats that meet their needs for resources (food, water, shelter, other organisms they interact with). However, not all animals can live in all places. Animals have specific structural features, traits, and behaviors that allow them to thrive in their specific habitat and to interact with the other elements within it. In this activity, students look at animal and habitat pictures. Half of the animal images and habitats are from Belize and half are not. Students may recognize some animals and not others. Belize, as a subtropical nation located in Central America, provides the types of habitats to support these animals now, but there is an ongoing threat of habitat alteration and destruction. As habitats are altered, some animals may not be able to tolerate the changes well and their survival could be threatened.

Materials:

The Habitat image page and the Animal image page need to be printed. (The animals and habitats in the left column can be found in Belize and the animals and the habitats in the right column are not native to Belize.)  The answer sheet for all images is found here.

Objectives:

Through the completion of this activity and a subsequent class discussion, students will be able to:

  • Name some of the animals that live in Belize
  • Describe characteristics of some of the habitats in Belize and contrast those to found in other areas
  • Describe some of the characteristics (physical features and behaviors) of animals that live in Belize
  • Discuss why these animals live in Belize and not other places (uniqueness of habitat)
  • Discuss what might happen to these animals if the environment was changed

Procedure: 

The teacher prints off either image file; glossy photo paper is best. The teacher can either cut out the pictures or leave the sheets of pictures intact. Students are asked to examine the habitat images and contrast them.  What does each type of environment does habitat provide?  What types of adaptations might animals need to have to leave in each place?  Then students can be asked to speculate on which animals may live in Belize and which animals live in other parts of the world. Discussion about why animals live in different parts of the world (e.g., climate, food availability, and ecosystems) should follow.  The discussion should also include why these animals live in Belize (the unique habitat) and what might happen to the animals if the habitat was changed.

Assessment:

Students can be asked to describe what a habitat is and to Students can be asked to name some of the animals found in Belize and to name animals not found there.  Students could also be asked to identify animals from flash cards.  Students could also be asked to explain why certain animals are found in certain places and not others.

Resources/Further Information:

Sources of Images:

Antarctica Elephant Kangaroo Rainforest habitat
Antelopes Giraffe

Keel billed toucan
(NC Museum of Natural Sciences)

Rainforest habitat
Australian outback Gorilla Lion

Red-eyed tree frog
(NC Museum of Natural Sciences)

Blue Morpho Butterfly Hippopotamus Ocellated turkey Savanna

Baird's Tapir
(NC Museum of Natural Sciences)

Howler Monkey
(NC Museum of Natural Sciences)

Penguin Tarantula
Common Basilisk
(Jesus lizard)
Jaguar Rainforest habitat Zebra

 

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