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Lesson Plans

Today's Lesson: the Florida Panther! Here you'll find our series of lesson plans designed to educate your students about all about our endangered state animal.

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Overview: Natural history, habitat, threats, and conservation

1-3: Panther Scavenger Hunt

  • Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School

Students learn their way around the web site and learn some interesting facts about the Florida panther's natural history, habitat, threats, and conservation. Along the way they get exposed to some neat features of Florida Panther Net. Available in three versions: Part 1 - Download Elementary Activity (grades 3-5), Part 2 - Download Middle School Activity (grades 6-8), Part 3 - Download High School Activity (grades 9-12).

Select the appropriate link to download lesson plan:

4: Become an Expert

  • Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School

Students choose a topic or an animal from one of the handbook indexes and prepare presentations on their discoveries, using an overhead computer projector or standing up at their desks.

5: Movie Reviewer

  • Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School

Students view a wide assortment of natural video/audio information independently or as a class, then summarize what they learned in one or two paragraphs. Ranges from a song by Dale Crider to the caterwauling of a panther to video of wildlife crossings.

6: Panther Trivia Pursuit

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students create their own Panther Trivia Pursuit game by collecting interesting facts about panthers and the plants and animals that share their habitat. Students write facts and corresponding questions on index cards and create a game by putting the whole class's cards together. Could include developing a board game.

7: “How to Catch a Cat” Guide

  • Middle School

Students choose a topic or an animal from one of the handbook indexes and prepare presentations on their discoveries, using an overhead computer projector or standing up at their desks.

Animal Characteristics and Behavior

9: Model a Print

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students make a model of panther track or track of another animal that shares the panther's habitat.

8: Animal Games

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students choose from the on-line activities Who Am I?, Coloring Book, Scramble Puzzles, or the off-line activities Animal Sign Concentration or Who Am I? to learn about the animals sharing the Florida panther's habitat.

10: Kitty Tunes

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students listen to the cat calls, then write a rap or a song that contains the hiss, purr and/or caterwauling of a Florida panther. Could recognize or award prizes for most original story, best presentations, most realistic imitation of calls, etc.

11: How do you know a panther was here?

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students research all of the signs panthers leave and make a poster that includes some three-dimensional objects and describes details of scat, scratches, scrapes, and tracks.

12: Solve the case!

  • Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School

Students learn about panther habits and the habits of other species that share the habitat of the Florida panther, as they solve the cases to earn their "Panther Detective" certificates. The off-line board game may be printed out by the instructor and used instead.

13: Animal Masks

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students learn what foods the panther prefers and make face masks depicting one or more of the animals on paper plates or with paper mache. They can use these masks to play “Oh Panther!”.

14: What makes a cat a cat?

  • Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School

Students videotape a cat and dog to explore the similarities and differences between these different mammals and their behaviors. Could also be used for comparison between a cat and a wide range of other animals, such as a goldfish, gerbil, lizard, etc.

15: A Cat’s Life

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students make a timeline of a panther's life, starting with birth and including the major milestones until death (opening eyes, nursing, leaving mother, mating, having young, etc.). Timeline may be written and decorated with artwork, or oral, with each stage explained by separate students as they go down the line.

Habitat and Ecosystem Balance

16: Habitat Art

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students apply their creative skills to create a representation of one or more natural community types used by the Florida panther. They may choose to draw, paint, assemble a collage, decorate a shoe box, or create some other visual model, depending on available art supplies.

17: Home on the Range

  • Middle School
  • High School

Students use a scaled map to show ranges for the number and type of Florida panthers that they determine a 5-county area in their part of the state would support, if space were the only consideration.

18: Whose Range is it?

  • Middle School
  • High School

Students examine the actual ranges of radio-collared panthers and discuss how and why the ranges of males and females differ.

19: Oh Panther!

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students convert a pie chart of what the panther eats to a bar graph.

22: Panther Tales

  • Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School

Students write a short story, poem, or local news report based upon a fictional account of their finding panther sign or meeting a panther in the wild. How would they feel? What would they do? What would the panther do?

21: Panther Food Web

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students construct a food web for the panther, using words, drawings or print out photos and data gathered on the panther.

20: Graph a Panther’s Diet

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Students convert a pie chart of what the panther eats to a bar graph.

Panther Management and Related Issues

23: Can you find a solution?

  • Middle School
  • High School

This interdisciplinary activity is designed as a mediation rather than a debate. Unlike debates, which have winners and losers, the goal of mediation is win-win, with all sides being satisfied with the outcome. This activity helps students to understand the complexity of endangered species issues and to develop higher level thinking skills (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) required for the FCAT.

24: My View’s Write!

  • Middle School
  • High School

Students research some of the controversial issues pertaining to panthers and panther wildlife management, plus background information from the handbook. Students decide what they think about one of these issues, then write a persuasive letter.

25: Act I: Panther Exam

  • Elementary
  • Middle School

First students watch the computer slide show of how biologists track a panther to complete a medical exam. Then they divide into groups to either act out their own versions of panther capture and vet exams. Students may expand the story to allow all students to play a part. Could expand to a full-costumed production, be videotaped, etc.