The aim of this Virtual Pathway is to help change the anthropocentric view of the wolf as a “bad animal” and to help children understand the wolf’s contribution to maintaining natural balance and biodiversity.
Student Learning Objectives:
- Know the main morphological characteristics of the wolf (head, mouth, nose, ears, legs, teeth, tail, etc) so, that they realize that the wolf is a carnivorous animal, which runs in order to catch its prey and eats meat.
- Detect the perceptions expressed in fairy tales and children’s stories about the wolf.
- Change the anthropocentric view of the wolf as a “bad animal”.
- Understand the wolf’s contribution to maintaining natural balance and biodiversity.
- Learn how to approach a scientific issue, how to investigate, to observe, to come up to conclusions and solutions, etc. Generally, to gain a scientific way of thinking.
- Cooperation, teamwork, development of critical thinking, socialization, environmental awareness, and sensitiveness.
Wolf, biology, life history, ecology, animal protection, environmental conservation
5-7 years old
School, Natural History Museum, Science museum, Web
In school: 10 hours (5 pre-visit and 5 post-visit)
In the museum (virtually): 2 hours
Computer, printer, books, internet access
Connection with the curriculum
The objectives of this program are derived from the current “Interdisciplinary Unified Curriculum Framework” (DEPPS).
- For the Kindergarten, it supports the section “Natural Environment and Interaction” and more specifically the “Living Organisms”, in the learning area of Natural Sciences. It is also related to the objectives of the learning areas “Environment and Education for Sustainable Development”. At the same time, this program is a framework for the application of knowledge and skills from other learning areas such as Technology, Mathematics, etc. It is also compatible with new primary school curricula.
- For the first grade of Elementary School, it supports the course “Environmental Study” and specifically the sections “Interaction between humans and natural environment”, “Plants and Animals” and “Biodiversity-Species extinction”.
This educational pathway follows an inquiry-based pedagogical approach, organised into 3 logical stages:
Teacher Support Materials
Useful resources, suitable for the age group of your students, are available at the “Teacher Support Materials” tab.
Guidance for Preparation
- Communication with the school director and the teachers involved to the project.
- Guidelines for the implementation.
- Suggest resources (ppt, videos, web pages, printed material).
- Provoke curiosity
The teacher reads a story where the wolf is presented as bad and a story where the wolf is presented as good.
Stories with the wolf as a negative role model
- Brothers Grimm, Little Red Riding Hood (available in various editions and from more than one publishing house)
- Brothers Grimm, The Wolf and the Seven Goats (also available in various editions and from more than one publishing house)
Stories with the wolf as a positive role model
- Varvarousi, Leda (2001). A very sweet… wolf. Athens: Papadopoulos.
- Michidi, Anna (2009). The wolf and the little green leaf girl. Athens: Metaichmio.
- de Pennart, Geoffroy (1998). The kind-hearted Wolf. Athens: Papadopoulos.
- de Pennart, Geoffroy (1994). The Wolf is back. Athens: Papadopoulos.
- de Pennart, Geoffroy (2011). The wolf, the goat and the 7 kids. Papadopoulos.
- Trivizas, Eugenios (2005). The three little wolves. Athens: Minos A.
Define questions from current knowledge
Τhe teacher asks the children the following questions:
- What do you know about the wolf?
- What is your opinion about the wolf?
- Is the wolf bad? Is it good? Do you have any other idea?
Propose preliminary explanations or hypotheses
The children’s initial assumptions about the wolf are recorded by the teacher on a large piece of paper, which will be left in a safe place.
The teacher encourages the children to make one or more assumptions by answering the questions:
- Finally, what is a wolf, good or bad and why?
- Is the wolf as described in fairy tales?
It is important that the teacher does not correct the children’s assumptions, as the correction of possible incorrect assumptions will result from the research and confirmation that will follow.
PLAN AND CONDUCT SIMPLE INVESTIGATION
The children are divided into groups. In each group, each child expresses his or her point of view. The group’s point of view emerges from the elaboration of the views of all the children of the group.
With the help of the teacher, the children read various stories and tales that refer to the wolf and discuss them, in order to outline its character and role:
- What is the wolf of our story like?
- Where does this description come from?
- What exactly does it do in the story?
At the same time, children are divided into groups to explore various sources of information, with the help of their teacher, like the NHMC presentation in the file 1_VP 2_WOLF_presentation_GR.ppsx (in Greek) and videos in the web like Wolves 101 | Nat Geo Wild and Discovery Education Kids – Wolf Rescue 2016 that help them describe the wolf in nature.
After completing this research, children gather to summarize and link the information they have collected: how is the wolf presented in fairy tales, how is it in reality (morphological characteristics), what does it eat and why, where does it find food and how (it chases, runs, captures with its mouth)? This information is recorded by the teacher on measure paper.
Support or guidance available before the visit
For more info, please contact Dr Iasmi Stathi, Head of NHMC Education Lab here: firstname.lastname@example.org
The research for the wolf continues in the visit phase of the educational program of NHMC.
The core experience
- Watch the video about the wolf in its natural environment (in Greek) here: Observe and describe:
- How is the wolf?
- Are there any differences or similarities with other animals?
- Where does it live?
- How does it live?
- What does it eat (eats meat) and
- Which animals does it prefer to eat (large animals in order to be covered in terms of quantity)?
- To consolidate what has been learnt until now about the morphological characteristics of the wolf, you could:
- Paint the wolf; print the colouring page and watch the video for guidelines (in Greek), and
- play the game “Which animal has this?” (in Greek), where you should match the eyes, the ears, the noses, the fingers and the tails with the correspondent animal (bear, wolf, wild boar, squirrel, eagle owl and polecat).
Afterwards, watch the video about the wolf in the fairytales (in Greek) here: and try to answer the questions:
- What will happen if the wolf disappears from the forest?
- What could a wolf do when there is no food around?
To consolidate what has been learnt until now about how the wolf lives, you may play the game “Ask the wolf”.
First make your wolf mask following the guidelines (in Greek) you will find here: and print the patron. Then, play the game “Ask the wolf”, following the guidelines (in Greek) found in this video. One kid is wearing the wolf mask and plays the role of the wolf, while the others ask questions based on what they have learned through this educational pathway up to now. Some indicative questions could be the following:
- Tell us wolf, what do you like to eat?
- What will you do if you do not find food to eat?
- Tell us wolf, what do you think about the forest? (Do you need the forest? Why?)
- Tell us wolf, what do we humans think of you?
- Would you like to tell us something else today?
The children are presented with a basket with two-color magnets. The children are asked to think, to choose the appropriate color and to stick it on a column on a magnetic board in order to form a two-column diagram, one for “yes” and one for “no”. The question is:
Fairy tales say that the wolf is evil. What do you say, yes or no?
The aim is to record the perceptions that were formed, through the construction of a diagram with materials (magnets), where the kids learn how to read the information contained in the diagram.
Support or guidance available during the visit (optional)
Combine your observations with the info you may find in the Educational Material in the VP Repository (virtualpathways.eu)
Any other relevant information (optional)
Explanation based on evidence
Through the activities, the children recognize the characteristics of the wolf, the food it needs and the ecosystem in which it lives. They realize that the extinction of the wolf may lead to an uncontrollable increase in the population of the animals it eats. They also realize that when the environment in which the wolf lives and feeds is destroyed, then, in order to survive, it must look for food elsewhere and thus it is forced to attack people’s property.
In this stage, the children are asked to reflect on the activities they did in the visit phase and to connect them with the discussion and the assumptions they had made during the preparatory stage.
Reflecting and drawing final conclusions can be aided by the following activities:
- Children may think, discuss in groups and announce what they liked about the activities they participated in, what they remember best and what they have learned from them.
- They re-read the stories they read before the visit phase and re-examine the hypotheses they wrote in order to draw their final conclusion: After all, is the wolf as described in fairy tales? Why?
In this phase, we encourage the children to recall and compose all the information they have gained from the course of the program so far (e.g. that the wolf is a carnivorous animal and eating animals helps to avoid their uncontrolled growth, while it attacks on people’s property only when it does not find food, etc.). By this activity, they verify or disprove the hypotheses that they initially made about the wolf, based on the data and information they have collected.
Follow–up activities and materials
Some examples of activities are presented below.
The distribution of the wolf in Greece
We present to the children a geophysical map of Greece. On it we have attached sketches or photos of wolves in the areas where their populations still exist. We present the following problem to the children and ask them to discuss in groups and look for the answers:
|“A few years ago there were wolves in many areas of Greece (we show the relevant geographical area), but slowly the wolves decreased and withdrew (left) from many areas. Why do you think this happened? What should be done to stop the decrease in the number of wolves?”
With this activity, children get aware that the wolf population is declining and endangered. Additionally, they recognize the effects that reckless hunting and deforestation may have on animal populations and the balance of nature.”
Source of the map: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/conservation/species/carnivores/pdf/60_Mertzanis_monitoring%20methods%20Greece.pdf
Wolf – Alpha leader
normal dominant submission fear
- Play in small groups.
- You will need your wolf masks, queues, picture cards, musical instrument or music.
Wolves live in herds of 2-12 animals. The social organization in the wolf herd and the codes of communication between them are wonderful – either with the body, head, ears, tail, tongue, teeth, or with the different types of howls – for various reasons, e.g. to gather like a herd to move, to hunt, to communicate from afar to return, to warn of prey, to greet, to find a match, to show the sovereign, called “Alpha” and is the leader of the herd.
Through pictures, book information or videos the children have learned about the communication characteristics of wolves in the herd. After discussing the rules of the game, they are divided into 4 groups of 4-5 wolves, wearing masks and tails and move in different ways, accompanied by music or musical instrument (lightly, running, jumping, in the snow, on dry leaves, in the mud, etc. .).
Before the start, the leader comes out to each group with a whistle, who leads the herd, i.e. where the others go, they follow him. When the music stops, the teacher shouts “Wolf alpha leader!” and picks up the card where the wolf appears as dominant with its tail held high. Then, whoever manages to raise his tail first becomes a leader. Depending on the space available, groups can move two at a time or one at a time. No group clashes with the other, because each herd has its own area. The leader suggests various ideas of creative movement, e.g. “Sitting” screaming to communicate from afar, or looking for food, hiding from hunters behind trees, greeting, etc.
Following the wolf in the forest: the tracks
Analysis and construction of patterns with imprint.
In some already designed sheets, children are encouraged to guess from the tracks, how many wolves are walking, if they are the same size (big wolves, baby wolves) and to guess how the tracks continue as a pattern.
Then, they are suggested to build freely and creatively their own patterns of footprints of large and small wolves. The children are encouraged to choose the appropriate color of cardboard (wolf footprints in the soil, fresh grass, snow, etc.) and there they press the footprints to make the pattern. Finally, they explain and give title to their works.
All the resources will be available in the project’s repository (www.virtualpathways.eu) and in the NHMC-UOC site (https://www.nhmc.uoc.gr/el/education/school-groups-programs)
All resources will be available in the project’s repository (www.virtualpathways.eu) and the NHMC-UOC site (https://www.nhmc.uoc.gr/el/education/school-groups-programs)