Wildlife in the City

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Listen to hear Earth Ranger Emma explain which animals can be found in suburbs and cities and how they adapt to these environments.  

Subject: Science
Grade level: Elementary
Wildlife in the city? It may seem odd to hear the word “wildlife” linked to the word “city.” However, animals live wherever they can find food and shelter. Cities can provide both for many types of wildlife. Animals use their survival skills to turn just about any environment into their home. Listen to hear a scientist explain which animals can be found in suburbs and cities and how they adapt to these environments. 

Wildlife in the City

Before Listening

  1. Activate prior knowledge:
    Begin the lesson by asking students to think about the busiest area of their town or city. Then ask them to list any animals they have seen in that place. Record their responses. Explain that animals and plants find ways to live in some surprising places, other than in the wild.
  2. Vocabulary:
    Preview the vocabulary by reading aloud the terms and their definitions. Ask students to think about how an animal would survive in a city by completing the following sentences:
  • Instead of hunting, some animals ___ in the trash for food. [rummage]
  • Animals have to learn to overcome ___ to live in the city. [obstacles]
  • At night, we could hear the dogs ___. [howl]

Ask students to use these and the remaining terms in sentences of their own.

suburb (noun) – an area where people live that is near or just outside a city
rummage (verb) – to dig through a container of objects
howl (verb) – to make a long, sad noise or sound
distance (noun) – the amount of space between two things
rural (adjective) – in the countryside
obstacle (noun) – something that stands in the way of reaching a goal

  1. Introduce the story:
    Say to students: When most people think of wild animals, they probably picture them living in the wild or at the zoo. But, if you look closely, wild animals live all around us. Wild animals can be found in the busiest cities on Earth! Now, you will listen to a story about where wildlife can be found in the city. Listen to a scientist explain how these animals have learned to survive in some surprising ways.
  1. Active listening supports:
    Introduce the listening organizer to support students in understanding the story while listening to it. This is intended to guide students in taking notes to help them focus their listening.

During Listening

The Fill-in-the-Blank Organizer will help guide student listening by focusing listeners on how different animals survive and thrive in cities. (Answer key: water, garbage, birds, food, trees)

After Listening

  1. Reflect on the story:  
    Ask students to respond to the listening comprehension questions and share their responses with a partner, small group, or the whole class.
  • Where does Emma find the animals featured in this audio story?
  • According to the audio story, why do peregrine falcons build nests on skyscrapers?
  • Why were squirrels introduced to parks in America?
  1. Classroom Discussion:
    Take time for student reflection on the audio story. Use the discussion questions to focus students on how animals adapt to city settings, and whether they think animals living in cities should still be considered “wild.”
  • What explanation do you have for why so many animals live in the city?
  • Do you think animals should be considered “wild” if they live in a city? Why or why not?

Next Step: Paired Text

Use the Wonderopolis article How Clever Are Raccoons? to pair with this audio story.

Ask students how the information in the article adds to their understanding of how wild animals adapt to city life.

Quiz Answers: 1>A / 2>B / 3>A / 4>C

Listen to the full podcast episode

Text materials provided by Listenwise

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