Elk Anatomy - Early Elementary (PEEC)
This lesson teaches basic anatomy of an elk using a giant floor puzzle.
K - 4
Ponca Elk Education Center, Ponca, AR
Education Program Coordinator, 870-861-2432
30 - 40 minutes
Suggested Number of Participants:
Up to 25
- Learn simple anatomy of an elk
- Construct a floor puzzle which reinforces the lesson
*See glossary for definations
Giant floor puzzle of an elk
Small paper puzzles (class set)
Certain body parts of an elk are important for its survival.
- Seat the participants in a large semicircle, facing the instructor.
- Show a picture of an elk. Tell them they will be learning about some of the body parts of an elk and why these parts are important for its survival.
- Hold up one piece of the puzzle and see if they can tell what it is. Let them guess, but don’t tell the answer yet.
- Give that piece to one of the participants. Continue this process until each piece has been given out.
- Have the participants come up to the front of the semi circle one at a time. As each participant comes up, explain what piece of the puzzle he/she has and why that particular body part is important.
- Place the piece on the floor. Continue until the puzzle is assembled on the floor. During the assembly, include the following information about the elk:
- Nose – Elk have a keen sense of smell to detect danger and avoid predators.
- Eyes – The eyes are on the sides of the head, helping them to see in almost every direction and making it possible to detect even the slightest movements of predators.
- Ears – The ears are large and dish-shaped and catch a lot of sound. (Have participants cup their hands behind their ears to demonstrate.) The ears also can rotate forward and backward, allowing for better sound detection from different directions.
- Neck – The neck is long and allows the elk to lift its head high to spot potential danger.
- Legs – The long, lean muscles are designed to run swiftly in long graceful strides, jump fences and climb steep slopes.
- Toes – Elk have four toes with the two outer toes on the back called dew claws. The larger two toes are what they walk on and form a hoof covered by a tough, thick toenail. By staying on their tiptoes, elk can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour and remain surefooted on uneven ground.
- Stomach – The stomach is very important for the survival of the elk. Elk must eat a large amount quickly to avoid being hunted by predators. The elk stomach has four chambers, which allow them to consume a lot quickly and hide to relax and chew its cud slowly. The next three chambers digest the food.
- After the puzzle is completed, give small copies of the puzzle to each participant. They can color it, cut it out and reassemble it.
- To reinforce the lesson, talk individually with the participants about the elk body parts as they assemble their puzzles.
- Elks’ eyes are on the sides of the head. How does this keep them safe from predators?
- How do the elks’ large dish-shaped ears keep them safe?
- How many chambers does an elk’s stomach have? How does this keep the elk safe?
Anatomy – the physical structure of an animal, plant, or other organism, or of any of its parts
Predator – an animal that hunts and kills other animals usually for food
Survival – remaining alive or in existence