Four Winds Nature Institute
4 Casey Rd. Chittenden, VT 05737
STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION: PREDATORS & PREY
Focus: Animals that hunt other animals for their food, and the animals that are hunted, have
special adaptations to meet the challenges of their particular roles. (Hands-On Nature pgs. 24-30)
What are some of the different behavioral and physical characteristics that distinguish animals
that hunt from animals that are hunted?
Four Winds’ Predator and Prey Puppet Show: learn some of the characteristics of predators
and of prey.
What’s the Difference?: identify adaptations that are specific to hunted animals or hunting
animals and note those common to both groups.
Getaway Skits: act out a variety of different hunting and escaping strategies.
Snack Track: experience the roles of both predator and prey through a game of hiding and
Stalk the Prey Game: discover the risks of being a prey in need of food and water and the
challenges of being a predator.
Journal Activity – Superhunter: invent a predator that is adapted to catch a specific prey.
Rabbits and Foxes Feltboard Story: see and discuss the shifting balance and interdependence of
groups of predators and their prey.
Upper Grades Challenge – Predator-Prey Cycles: see the relationship between predator and
prey population cycles.
SUGGESTED OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES
Getaway Skits, Snack Track, Stalk the Prey Game (in Teaching Suggestions)
A. Animals that hunt other animals for food have adaptations that help them to find and catch
their prey. Animals that are hunted have special adaptations that help them to become
aware of predators and to escape from, defend against, or discourage them. Some
adaptations are common to both predators and prey.
B. Animals display a variety of different hunting and escaping strategies.
C. In a healthy ecosystem, there is a balance between predators (hunters) and prey (hunted)
animals as long as there are adequate habitat resources (food, water, & shelter) to provide
for each group’s successful reproduction.
Unit Vocabulary: Adaptation, Ecosystem, Habitat, Predator, Prey, Herbivore, Carnivore,
Omnivore, Nocturnal, Diurnal, Crepuscular, Interdependence
Science Grade Expectations:
Grades PK-K Living things need food, water, and air to survive. Rabbits and Foxes are living
Grades 1-2 All animals depend on plants. Some animals eat plants for food; other animals eat
animals that eat plants. Animals are made up of body parts that enable them to survive in the
particular places they live.
Grades 3-4 Animals have physical and behavioral characteristics that help them to get what they
need and to defend themselves in their environment. Organisms can only survive in habitats in
which their needs are met. Energy derived from food is needed for all animals to stay alive and
grow. Living things can be sorted into groups in many ways using various characteristics.
Grades 5-6 Energy within an ecosystem originates from the sun; plants use energy from the sun to
make energy rich food, animals eat food that plants make. The number of animals that an
ecosystem can support depends on the kinds of organisms present and the availability food, water
and other resources. When the environment changes, some animals with advantageous traits are
able to survive. Living things can be sorted into groups in many ways using various
A. Active listening to understand the shifting balance and interdependence between
predators and their prey
B. Comparing and contrasting adaptations that are specific to hunted animals and hunting
animals and discussing adaptations the groups have in common.
C. Experiencing the role of predator and prey through a game of hiding and searching.
D. Creating a model using paper, crayons, pencils and tape to show adaptations a
predator would need to capture prey.
Vermont Standards: Inquiry 7.1, The Living World 7.13, Natural Resources and Agriculture
7.16, Listening 1.13, Questioning 2.1, Sustainability 3.9, Understanding Place 4.6
New Hampshire Standards: Science Process Skills SPS1, SPS3, SPS4, Life Science LS1, LS2,
Four Winds Nature Institute, 7-08.