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Taking it to the Extreme! Homeschool Web Activity September 2013 Houston Zoo.

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Presentation on theme: "Taking it to the Extreme! Homeschool Web Activity September 2013 Houston Zoo."— Presentation transcript:

1 Taking it to the Extreme! Homeschool Web Activity September 2013 Houston Zoo

2 Extreme in Many Ways In the most recent edition of Homeschool Happenings, we learned about animals who are extreme in different ways While it is fun to talk about the amazing characteristics of these extreme animals, can you think of a reason why there is so much diversity in the animal kingdom?

3 The Big Picture To answer that question, we first have to think about ecosystems as a whole Ecosystem is a word we use to describe the interactions between all the living and non- living things in an area. Let us look at a pond as an example. The fish, plants, rocks, water, frogs, and everything else within the pond is included in the ecosystem of that pond. All these things affect each other and interact with each other.

4 The Big Picture Ecosystems work best when they have many organisms filling many different niches. A niche is a specific job that an animal or plant performs within the ecosystem

5 The Big Picture You can think of an ecosystem like a factory If every single worker in a factory did the exact same job and worked the exact same hours, the factory would not be very efficient or productive. However, if each worker had a different task and worked different shifts, the factory runs smoothly and increases productivity.

6 Tying it all Together So how does all this relate to extreme animals? By having such a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and abilities, animals are able to fill many different niches within the ecosystem.

7 Home Sweet Home One example of how the diversity in the animal kingdom helps ecosystems function is the variety of habitats animals can live in. If all animals were the exact same size and shape, certain shelters would be in high demand! By having different body types and abilities, animals can utilize many different shelters.

8 Home Sweet Home Extremely small animals are able to find their homes in the smallest of places! Honduras tent making bats will chew palm fronds in certain ways and make their waterproof shelters in the palm trees. Extremely large animals need a bit more space than that. Blue whales (which are the largest animal that ever lived!) call the depths of the deepest oceans home.

9 Whats For Dinner? Having such diversity in the animal kingdom also means that there are many different animals that eat many different things. This helps ensure there is enough food to go around!

10 Whats For Dinner? Some animals have very extreme teeth! Clouded leopards have the longest canine teeth of any cat in relation to their size. This suits them perfectly for their dinner of meat! The ant eater also has a very extreme way of getting its dinner. They have a long, sticky tongue they use to get the termites and ants out of their mounds. Ant eaters dont even have teeth since they are not needed for feasting on their dinner of ants!

11 It is what make the world go round… Many people often forget that finding a mate and producing offspring is just as important to survival as finding shelter and food. Some animals definitely take finding a mate to the extreme!

12 It is what make the world go round… The bird of paradise has some of the flashiest colors and most elaborate dances in the animal kingdom. The males show off their abilities in hopes that a female will pick them out of all the other males.

13 Strength in our Differences The fastest, the strongest, the smallest, the largest. While it is fun to look at these extreme animals and marvel at their awesome characteristics and abilities that set them apart from other animals, it is important to keep in mind that all these differences enable the animals to fill many different niches within ecosystems around the world!

14 Your turn! Now that you have learned about many extreme animals and their importance within ecosystems, it is time for some fun!

15 Your turn! Print out the How Do You Stack Up tracking card and instructions. As you complete the activities, think about how you compare with the animals featured and what type of niche you would fill within an ecosystem.

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