Lesson 1. Where do alligators live today?
Think about what you already know about alligators. Have you ever seen an alligator, either in captivity or the wild? Do you know anyone who has encountered an alligator? Where do you think alligators live? Record your answers in your science journal. If you are completing this module with someone else, share your answers with each other. Now, draw a picture in your journal of where you think an alligator lives in the wild.
Once you have your picture drawn, we will take a virtual field trip to the North Carolina zoo and Everglades National Park to observe alligators. When scientists are studying a modern animal to try to understand more about them, they will spend time observing that animal in its natural habitat [a habitat is a location that provides a plant or animal’s basic needs]. As you watch the following videos, pay attention to the alligator’s interaction with its environment. In your science journal, list one thing you notice or wonder about.
American alligator at the North Carolina zoo.
Alligators - National Park Animals for Kids, featuring Everglades National Park.
After watching the videos, what is one thing you noticed or wondered about where alligators live?
A habitat is an environment that provides a plant or animal with everything it needs to survive. After observing alligators in their natural habitat, what types of things do you think an alligator, or any animal, needs to survive? What basic requirements do you have that an alligator would also have? Brainstorm with your class to find at least three basic requirements that all animals have. These requirements are things that should be provided by that animal’s preferred habitat.
Our class definition of a habitat: