Raccoons

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Raccoons! Our actual lesson plans were modified due to the weather, but we had a wonderful time learning about raccoons, Tennessee’s state wild animal!

These cute mammals are fun to study because of their easy to find tracks along a stream bed and distinctive markings on their face and tail. We focused our little lesson on how the Latin name “Procyon lotor” means “dog like washer” because a raccoon will usually dip its food into water. It looks like it is washing the food before eating, but is usually softening the food and checking for foreign substances on the food.

We also talked about how the raccoon walks “plantigrade” which means it will walk with its toes flat on the ground. (Humans and bears also walk plantigrade.)

Unfortunately we couldn’t find any tracks in the mud today, but we will be back to look and check for markings of raccoons in the area!

It was important to also make note that raccoons are a hazard. They can be carriers of disease so we must always be aware and not approach or touch any raccoon we may see in the wild. In fact, the Tennessee Wildlife offices will help you determine what to do if you find raccoons in your yard. (615-781-6622)

Resources:

https://biodiversity.utexas.edu/news/entry/campus-biodiversity-raccoons

https://archive.org/details/handbookofnature002506mbp/page/n271/mode/2up/search/raccoon – this is my favorite resource! I love the information described and the questions that can be suggested to students as they learn about the raccoon!

https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-official-item/tennessee/state-mammal/raccoon

https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife/mammals/medium/raccoon.html

https://handbookofnaturestudy.com/2009/03/outdoor-hour-challenge-52-mammals.html/ – great to help you plan your nature study time!

http://www.yedraw.com/how-to-draw-a-raccoon.html#.XlQvcIh7mUl – resource in drawing a raccoon for your nature journal!

LESSON PLAN: (Although today we just hiked to the creek, looked for tracks, drew in our journals and splashed through the puddles on our way back!

Gathering Song
*Walk to the creek
*Look and investigate for tracks in the mud.
*Journal the raccoon with interesting facts
*Animal forms relay race (each student runs and tags the next student but instead of running, they must move like a raccoon, bird, crab, etc.! We’ll play it next month!)
*Walk back to the parking lot
* Thanksgiving Song

I am looking forward to next month! If you have a theme request let me know!

To see the rest of our nature dates and sign up to attend click here!

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