1. Watch the Virginia Opossum
video podcast with the students. Discuss with them the information shown above and in the video.
2. Use the information presented above and the following suggestions to help you meet some of the Benchmarks of the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards. Please do not be limited by these suggestions or by these Standards. The information can be used in several subject areas.
Goal 11, Learning Standard 11.A: Develop beginning skills in the use of science and engineering practices, such as observing, asking questions, solving problems and drawing conclusions.
Have the students develop questions about the Virginia opossum that were not answered in the text or video. Let them build models or perform experiments to represent their ideas. If applicable, let them test the ideas and collect data. Involve math and computational skills. Describe the results and provide explanations.
Students want to know how Virginia opossums survive in winter.
Let the students predict how they think these mammals survive. Look at photos and videos of opossums. Talk about the fur that covers the body. What about the parts of this animal that do not have fur? How might they keep these body parts warm? Do they need to keep them warm? How can behaviors keep you warm? Where will they find food in winter? See if the students can test some of their ideas. Use videos, books or ask an expert to find answers, if needed.
Goal 12, Learning Standard 12.A: Understand that living things grow and change.
Goal 12, Learning Standard 12.B: Understand that living things rely on the environment and/or others to live and grow.
Use the images from this month’s Kids for Conservation® edition (regular version) and the video podcast about the Virginia Opossum to show students some of the aspects of the life of this species. Talk about what these animals need to survive and where they might obtain those items. Ask them to imagine life as a Virginia Opossum and compare it to their daily life as a human. How are they the same? How are they different? How do humans affect Virginia opossums? How do Virginia opossums affect humans?
Goal 13, Learning Standard 13.A: Understand rules to follow when investigating and exploring.
Goal 13, Learning Standard 13.B: Use tools and technology to assist with science and engineering investigations.
Depending on what questions the students develop and test, they may need to use scientific and technological tools to help them discover the answers.