Students watch the Wolves of Yellowstone video, and learn about the trickle-down effect brought on by returning wolves to Yellowstone. They then create a graphic organizer showing the reasons for returning the wolves, and the results of doing so.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Unit 10: Modern Montana." This concluding unit will ask students to determine how Montana compares to other states, and how it has become the state it is today.
3.3: Describe and illustrate ways in which people interact with their physical environment (e.g., land use, location of communities, methods of construction, design of shelters).
- Video: Wolves of Yellowstone | EARTH a New Wild
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Class set of Wolves of Yellowstone handout
- Tell students they will be watching a short video about wolves found in Yellowstone National Park. Explain that wolves were hunted to extermination in Yellowstone because they were seen as a threat to people and livestock in the area. The video explains the vast impact the wolves have had on the entire ecosystem of Yellowstone.
- Distribute the Wolves of Yellowstone handout. Have students take notes on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone.
- Play the video: Wolves of Yellowstone | EARTH a New Wild. [5:19]
- Ask students: What is a trophic cascade?
- Allow another five minutes for students to complete the graphic organizer on the handout.
A trophic cascade is when a change in a predator’s patterns causes a trickle-down effect on the rest of the ecosystem.