Baboon Baby

How to Use This Book

Supermarket Science Materials are organized into thematically linked sets with experiments and activities as well as background information that makes them easier to do. There are also a bunch of simple, fun art and writing projects. All of the activities can be done alone or in conjunction with other project sets. Choose activities that are developmentally appropriate to your children.

All Supermarket Science Materials are primarily geared toward students in elementary and secondary schools, as well as their parents and teachers, but can be expanded to higher grades. The activities are designed to advance the understanding of concepts of biology, ecology, geology, and sociology based on local resources like a backyard or a local grocery store. All of the materials in this set and others link the Core Curriculum Standards. Use the Core Curriculum Standards to focus the activities to a particular grade level.

There are also LEARN, SHOW, USE, DO, and TEACH pages. LEARN pages are designed to be given to the students. They contain explanations, stories, or diagrams. SHOW pages usually present interesting photographs or illustrations that demonstrate specific concepts. USE pages are created as supplemental materials for the activities and experiments. Animal Cards and Map Cards are examples of USE pages. And finally, the DO pages contain the actual activities and experiments. Please use the back of these pages as scrap and add additional pages as needed.

On some pages, there are icons of animals. For example, an activity about elephants might have an elephant icon next to it. These icons can be used as keys to link information between all of the Supermarket Science Materials.

Most DO pages have a What You Need list of items in the margin under the title of the activity. This is a quick reminder for what children should have while doing the activity. It might look something like a list on the right: Animal Stamps pages, Animal Cards pages, research books, pencil, scissors, glue, etc.

Some of the activities in this set use of cards from the Supermarket Science Cards or Stamps USE pages. Creating taxonomies is part of the scientific process. Card games and activities allow kids an opportunity to practice this skill.

There are many activities which can be done using information about animals and habitats. This set shows some possibilities. We encourage you to come up with others. Think of these activities as inspirational examples, jumping off points.

This set of Supermarket Activities is geared toward kids of all ages—elementary through high school age—and their parents and teachers. It is organized by “talking points”—main themes and ideas that students are expected to learn during their school careers. The easier concepts are presented on SHOW pages.

Each talking point has several pages devoted to it. Those pages are divided into three content types: general introduction, relating ideas of the talking point to kids’ lives, and how these ideas work in the wild. All ideas are explored through question and answer format: a teacher or a parent or even a child can lead the discussion by posing questions to the others. The answers are provided below each question. These questions are meant to be sample questions, just like the answers are just partial answers—good starting points. There are many questions that can be asked to explore the talking points listed here, and we strongly encourage you to expand upon the selection given here.

Talking Point for Animal Adaptations

  • Different Animals, Different Strategies: an introduction to the diversity of adaptations
  • Different Diets, Different Strategies: adaptations to food gathering and processing
  • Neighborhood Survival Strategies: adaptations to habitat conditions
  • Baby Survival Strategies: adaptations to raising a family
  • The Dating Game Strategies: adaptations to mate selection

Main Ideas

Food Webs

  • compare the anatomical differences between predators and prey
  • create a food chain starting with a top predator
  • create a food chain starting with a producer
  • create a food chain starting with any animal
  • create a food web by combining multiple food chains    

Collect Data

  • collect data by performing experiments
  • record data in a log sheet

Make Predictions

  • make predictions based on visual analysis


  • research basic information about the animal using the Supermarket Science Animal Guide
    (a given source) and a library or the Internet (a new source)
Introduction to Adaptations

We all know that we can’t move a polar bear into a tropical rainforest habitat. But why not? It’s because this animal is not adapted to live in a tropical rainforest and would die if moved there. But why?

Animal adaptations are tools that animals have that allow them to survive in a particular habitat. These tools are something an animal is born with, something its species developed over millions of years of evolution. Polar bears have thick waterproof fur that keeps them warm in the cold Arctic weather even as they swim in frigid waters, from iceberg to iceberg. They are carnivores—they eat meat. It would be very difficult for a herbivore to exist on the floating ice sheets—grass doesn’t grow on ice. Polar bear’s fur looks white­­—they can easily hide among the snow and ice. And polar bears are very good swimmers. They have to be—it’s the only way to move from one ice sheet to the next in the open sea.

Predatory Vision

To be a predator is to be a carnivore (or at least an omnivore)—predators eat meat. To eat, predators need to catch their dinner first. It’s hard to catch things you can’t see very well, so most predators have excellent vision. But not only do predators have great distance vision, they also have a good stereoscopic vision—they see in depth. A lion jumping on an antelope has to be able to judge the distance and speed of its moving target. To achieve three dimensional vision, the eyes have to be positioned in the front of the head so that the field of view for each eye overlaps, creating a view of the same object from two separate positions. By analyzing how much shift there is in position of an object from the point of view of each eye, the brain can determine how far away that object is located in space—closer objects shift more than objects far away.

Skully Fun

Herbivores, plant eating animals, are usually food to other animals. They are closer to the bottom of the food chain than to the top. To avoid being eaten, herbivores tend to have their eyes placed on each side of the head to have a better view of their environment. This eye placement also keeps their eyes safe from sharp blades of grass and twigs of trees. Try picking up a spoon from the ground with just your mouth. Your eyes get very close to the ground. If the spoon was in the grass, your eyes could get damaged if you don’t close them.

Herbivores also need special teeth for chewing all that plant material. They have large molars (big, flat teeth in the back of the mouth). And their front teeth are designed to cut the leaves off the trees and snip the top layer of grass off the ground—these teeth serve the function of scissors.

Survival Strategies

A habitat doesn’t only have an effect on what animals look like, it also influences how animals behave. Animals seek shelter during a storm and go to higher ground during a flood. Some animals collect food in the summer months and store it for the long hungry days of winter. Other animals migrate hundreds of miles to reach new fertile grounds where food is aplenty.

Animal Families

Different animals have different strategies for caring for their young. Some animals carry their young with them all the time—kangaroo. Some animals raise their babies in a large family group—elephants, zebras, antelopes, hippos. Some babies have only their mothers to help them—bears.

Adaptations Games

Visible adaptations are those that we can see—wings are examples of visible anatomical adaptations. Internal adaptations are anatomical tools that help animals survive but which are not easily seen from simple observations—poison sacks secreted underneath the animal’s fur are hard to notice until too late. Behavioral adaptations are those that relate to how animals act—how an animal chases down its food or sounds it makes to communicate danger.

To Eat And To Be Eaten

All animals need food to survive. Predators hunt other animals to get food; herbivores eat plants to get nourishment; and plants make their own food using the energy from the sun, water, and nutrients from the soil. We can link together animals, plants, and the sun to form a food chain

Some of the activities in this course use Supermarket Science Animal Cards and Animal Stamps. Please download and print as many copies of these as are needed, including the blank templates for making more. You will find those in the featured course
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Lectures: 7