Glencoe Earth Science

Unit 4: Change and Earth's History

Animal Behavior

A peacock displaying his colorful tail, a whale spending the winter months in the ocean off the coast of southern California, and a lizard seeking shade from the hot desert sun are all examples of animal behavior. Behavior is anything an animal does in response to a stimulus. A stimulus is an environmental change that directly influences the activity of an organism. The presence of a peahen stimulates a peacock to open its tail feathers and strut. Environmental cues, such as a change in day length, might be the stimulus that causes the whale to leave its summertime arctic habitat. Heat stimulates the lizard to seek shade. Is it possible that animals respond to changes in air pressure, temperature, winds, humidity, and precipitation? Meteorologists are able to predict the weather, because they use information provided by computers, satellites, and radars. Can animals use their own senses to predict weather? Research animal behavior. Use your research to discover if animals are able to predict the weather.

Working in pairs, have students research folklore of animal behaviors that are reputed
to predict the weather. They may choose to focus on a particular culture and those cultures proverbs, or demonstrate a variety of folk sayings from around the world. Their collection of animal predictions could be bound to share with others in story form.

1 class periods to research animal behavior, 1 class period to write story

Possible Resources:,55a304092d09/1qx.html

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