Saturday, March 29, 2014

Did the Mountain Lion Catch the Mule Deer? A Lesson Draft

The other day my son and I were walking on our property, we have a few acres in the sierra foothills above Sacramento.  It had been raining and we found something interesting... deer tracks with mountain lion (cougar) tracks right next to them.  Our first question to ourselves was, Did the Cougar Catch the Deer?  Being the crazy teacher who is always looking for ways to connect real life to learning, I began scheming in my mind and I am sharing the results with you here.

Because the tracks were so close to our home and I have an 8 year old son, I wanted to find out as much as possible about our neighborhood mountain lions.  I also thought it would be interesting to create something for the K-8 students in my school district which is located in cougar country.

I created this interactive image on Thinglink one of my new favorite teaching tools.
Click here to access this thinglink

Lesson Plans for using the above Thinglink: CLICK HERE

I am in the process of creating K-8 Real Life Math problem solving questions using the facts about mountain lions and will post those soon.  Here is what I have for K-2 so far (very rough): CLICK HERE.

This is just a draft of my ideas that started flowing after participating in #satchatwc this morning.  It will be tweaked and changed.  Feel free to make a copy of the Google Doc and make it your own.  You will see my edits as I make them if it is added to your Google Drive.

The goal of this activity is to model for the students so that they can create their own Thinglink (or other tool) to teach their classmates something interesting and/or pose an interesting question for exploration. This could also be a #geniushour "mini-lesson" or "mini-20% time" project.  There are numerous ways this can go depending on your willingness to let your students run with the process and make it their own.


  1. Hi, Kristen. I love the real world connection and the use of Thinglink, which is becoming an increasingly popular app. I read your lesson plan and one idea came to me. An extension would be to have students take the data from the lesson and write/tell how they are like/different (compare/contrast) from the cougar. I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not, but it's what came to mind. Thanks for sharing your real world connection.

  2. Hi Glenn, I love that idea of compare/contrast. I was also thinking of doing proportional reasoning with the 3-5 group and writing ratios for the comparisons. Thanks for the great idea!