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hopscotchy's avatar

How can I teach a preschool class about Vultures?

Asked by hopscotchy (552points) March 7th, 2010

I need some ideas for a unit on Vultures for my preschool class. I want them to learn as much as possible, even the gruesome details, but am having to get pretty creative with this. Helpful ideas might include demonstrations that can show how a Vulture locates food, lays eggs, urinates on it’s claws to clean them, digests carrion, projectile vomits, etc.

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27 Answers

PandoraBoxx's avatar

How, may I ask, did Vultures come to be part of a pre-school curriculum? We’re talking 3 and 4 year olds, right?

rangerr's avatar

They are in preschool for God’s sake… teach them about something more age appropriate.

Arp's avatar

Teacher: Vultures are giant birds the will eat you if you’re bad. The end.

That’ll scar them for life :)

judochop's avatar

Vultures FTW! I wish I was back in preschool and you were my teacher. Here is what you do….
Call the Zoo and have them bring a Vulture in. Then have a lesson.
Then do an art project with all the birds pissing on their feet to clean them and then projectile vomiting…..Then take pictures and post them in here. DO IT!

OperativeQ's avatar

All of the above answers will be flagged, I’m sure.

Likeradar's avatar

What the heck is wrong with teaching young children about vultures?
Kids that age love animals. Create the lessons to present the ideas of adaptation (“what do you do when your hands get messy? Well guess what vultures do…”), eggs (“Human babies are born straight out of their mommies…”)... Vultures are kind of creepy and gross by our standards. Kids will eat it up.

syz's avatar

While I think it’s a great idea to teach young children about vultures, I do think you need to make it age appropriate (God knows, they like to imitate things, and peeing on their feet is not something the parents will thank you for).

Possible resources (the first one is quite nice):
http://www.appvoices.org/index.php?/site/voice_stories/learning_about_vultures_with_kids/issue/151
http://www.aprilsayre.com/2007/10/01/vulture-view/
http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/

As a completely random aside, my sister is a state biologist and banded 70 vultures last Thursday. Almost all of them vomited on her and most of them bit her. Plus she spent the day slipping and sliding around on the deer carcasses used as bait in the trap. Fun!!

hopscotchy's avatar

My classroom is in a nature and science based school. You are all making it quite obvious why we are doing a unit on Vultures, so these kiddos don’t grow up misinformed and afraid of animals that are quite spectacular. @judochop we actually have three vultures at school. so, any ideas out there?

rangerr's avatar

@Likeradar I can understand the eggs, and maybe the cleaning deal.. I just don’t see how it’s necessary to teach them about the digestion of the animals at such a young age..

FlutherAlot's avatar

I got an idea!!!

Call the local zoo and have them bring in a live vulture. Bring in a dead cat carcass and have the vulture peck and eat at it. While the vulture is doing this you can explain what its doing.

Even better you cn bring in a weak cat, like one with cancer. Place the dieing cat in the middle of hte parking lot and let the zoo vulture fly around and peck at it until it dies.

syz's avatar

@FlutherAlot Unnecessary.

Likeradar's avatar

@rangerr Almost anything is appropriate to teach children as long as it’s done in an age appropriate manner. We want children to be curious and informed about how life actually works… if you’re teaching about an animal, why leave out one of the most interesting things? It’s all about adapting the information to the age.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Here are some pre-school/kindergarten activities themed around V is for Vulture, including an art activity: http://www.first-school.ws/activities/alpha/v/vulture.htm
This toilet paper tube vulture is pretty cool.

I would take the direction that vultures are part of nature’s clean-up crew. Instead of hunting animals, eat animals that are already dead.

john65pennington's avatar

I have a better idea. forget the Vultures and show some beautiful red Cardinals and how they are mates for life. maybe this will help them to understand how a marriage works and that married people shoud be mates for life, just like the Cardinals.

Surely, you can pick a better subject than Vultures. they may be pretty in your eyes, but to a 3 year old this means nightmares for three days. not a good idea, at all.

Likeradar's avatar

@john65pennington If I were a parent, I would be having nightmares about a teacher who, instead of teaching about an interesting animal, chose to get on the moral high horse and teach that, in his or her opinion, people should mate for life.

I took 4 year olds to a presentation about birds of prey and scavengers. They were amazed. Freaked out by parts, but LOVED the over all experience and learned some stuff, too.

FlutherAlot's avatar

@john65pennington

Then the kids will turn out to be monogomous moral pussies….

Off topic, but since your a piggie can you help me beat my ticket from the question I posted earlier. I believe you replied

rangerr's avatar

@john65pennington And what about the kids who have already learned that their parents won’t be together for life? :l

laureth's avatar

Vultures are nature’s clean-up crew. They know garbagemen, right? Vultures keep things clean. It’s the Circle of Life™.

syz's avatar

@john65pennington What a narrow (and frightening) world view you have.

john65pennington's avatar

Sorry folks if you did not like my answer. first, i don’t fix tickets and second, this is not a proper subject for a 3year old. i would love to know the response from their parents, before this class were given. i would not allow my child to view this at such an early age. thats not being narrow-minded, thats called saving the nightmares bestowed by a teacher that loves Vultures and the topic is being forced on children. the object of the Cardinals was to hopefully teach the children that this is what is suppose to happen in a married life. later in life they deal with their parents decisions, not at age 3.

hopscotchy's avatar

Actually, the classroom parents are looking forward to this topic. As I said before, we have 3 rescued vultures at the center where I work, and the children enjoy visiting them frequently, watching them eat, and we always thank them for being the cleaners of the earth. They have been VERY interested in vultures lately, and I only chose topics based on their interests at any time.
I think it is unfortunate that we, as adults, feel a need to impress upon young people the (often mislead) images of certain things that our culture has tainted with irrational fear. 3 year olds are wonderfully free of many irrational fears we develop over our lifetimes. Is it rational to be afraid of approaching a real vulture? yes. Is it rational to be afraid of a picture of a vulture and learning how they live? absolutely not.

Am I going to do a projectile vomit demonstration all over the classroom and bring in a carcass and show creepy Hollywood images of Vultures ripping apart flesh, maybe encourage the kiddos to go out and touch a real vulture? No, that would obviously be wrong.
What I can do is teach them how to identify different types of vultures out on our hike, teach them what vultures do to help the earth, bring in some real vulture feathers and eggs for them to touch, get them excited about learning and remind them, as I always do, that this is a wild animal that we can only observe and respect from afar.

I hope that if you do have children, you will not always let your own fear hinder your child’s natural sense of wonder.

Aethelwine's avatar

I am very surprised by some of these answers. There is nothing wrong with teaching young children about wildlife, especially vultures. We have many programs here in central Illinois that are suitable for all ages. This is just one example. We have many turkey vultures in our area and I love to point them out to my daughter (she’s 6) if I notice any when we are outside.

@hopscotchy It sounds like you already have some great ideas. Maybe include an art project, but nothing is better than seeing the real thing. Good luck!

john65pennington's avatar

Hopscotchy, reading your last answer has changed my mind completely. i think i misunderstood your limits on a Vultures lifestyle. as you stated, your intent is not to include vomiting and tearing apart dead animals carcasses or road kill to 3 year old children. i agree that children need all aspects of the creatures that surround us and i owe you an apology for misunderstanding your planned program. i jumped the gun before i knew all the facts and thats really not like me. you sound like a wonderful teacher and i back you on your project. john pennington.

judochop's avatar

If you have vultures there at school already why not start the study when they lay an egg and follow the pair through the process. Vultures are one of my fave birds. The art project would be fun and gross and make for a silly montage. Kids love gross things.

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