Inspect Animal Tracks

Inspect Animal Tracks Activity

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Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my! The next time you and your fifth grader go on a hike, take along this key to figure out which of eight common North American animals left a track along the river bank. Help your young explorer learn to use a dichotomous key—a series of questions with two possible answers, each of which leads you to the next question. Your child will deilght in exploring the natural world through a scientific lens!


What You Need:

  • Printed dichotomous key (download here)
  • Printed track templates which will give you images of tracks for a deer, duck, turkey, coyote, bobcat, beaver, raccoon, or black bear. This will help you double check your results.

What You Do:

1.             Is the track heart shaped? 

                Yes. Then it is a deer. 
                No. Proceed to question 2.

2.             Does the track have three toes facing forward? 

                Yes. Go to question 3.
                No. Go to question 4.

3.             Are the toes webbed? 

                Yes. Then it is a duck. 
                No.   Then it is a turkey.

4.             Does the track have 4 toes? 

                Yes. Go to question 5.
                No. Go to question 6.

5.             Does the track have claw marks? 

                Yes. Then it is a coyote. 
                No. Then it is a bobcat. 

6.             Are the toes webbed? 

                Yes. Then it is a beaver.
                No. Go to question 7.

7.             Does it look like a small hand print? 

                Yes. Then it is a raccoon.
                No. Then it is a black bear.


Updated on Dec 16, 2009
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See more activities in: Fifth Grade, Life Science
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