One of the activities I use with children when tracking includes helping them to recognize clear print classification or the ability to recognize a clear animal print in substrate like mud, sand, clay or snow. Using plaster outside with tracks that you find or air dry clay inside with replica animal tracks you can create a “Match the Track” game to quiz for nature knowledge. I like to slowly show the animal track and allow students to touch it before providing increasingly obvious clues as to the animal who made it to help all the students make the connection. The game below allows for individuals to test and expand their nature knowledge with or without an instructor available. At the end of the lesson children get to make and take their own animal track or set of tracks.
To make your own: 1. Roll a ball of air dry clay a bit bigger than a golf ball. 2. Press your open hand on the clay ball to flatten it. 3. Press the animal track into the clay. 4. Use a pencil to place a hole into the track if you want it to be worn as a necklace once it has dried solid.
David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula. He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife. You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com