Teaching Resources, Materials and Activities
This page has been created with all educators in mind, be you a teacher, parent, scout leader, or community event organizer. The activities and ideas on this page will help you complement a WolfWays program as well as your own programs and lessons about wolves. Any person interested in delving deeper into learning about wolves will also benefit from the materials provided.
These materials are organized according to topic. The study of wolves aligns with several life science and literary arts curriculum.
From teachers for teachers: Please feel free to share activities or materials that you have used with your group of young people. Your feedback on these materials and additions to these materials is valued.
Most of these materials and activities can be adapted to remote learning settings.
Wolf Education Curriculum Guides
Excellent lesson plans and supplemental materials are available through the following organizations:
--- National Geographic Gray Wolf Education Guide -- a program developed by Living With Wolves: Exploring a Keystone
Species with Students Grades K–12.
--- Tracks to the Future -- Wolf Conservation Center's curriculum for teachers, Grades 3-8.
--- Gray Wolves, Gray Matter -- International Wolf Center: 27 classroom-ready activities help students sort through the
complexities of the wolf-human relationship in today’s world, Grades 4-12.
--- Wolf Education Database -- Timber Wolf Alliance: providing educational lessons to teach about wolves Grades K-12.
--- Journey - The Amazing Story of OR7 Teacher's Guide - based on the book by Beckie Elgin. Includes wolf facts, activities,
and questions to ponder. Grades 3 - 8
WolfWays Activities and Handouts
--- Designed for Predation – learn about the wolf's adaptations that help them to survive and how they differ from deer, one of their prey. From "Discovering
Wolves," by Nancy Field & Corliss Karasov.
--- Physical Adaptations wolf image
--- Adaptations worksheet – grades 2-3. (French version - translated by
Kate Gaudouen, teacher Lemonde French Immersion School)
--- Adaptations worksheet – grades 4-5.
--- Wolf Scent Glands image (LS1.D)
Fact vs. Fiction
Over the past 40 years, wolves have become perhaps one of the most researched and studied mammal. However, ironically, wolves remain one of the most misunderstood of animals, largely due to misleading media and long standing beliefs.
Perceptions are generally formed by some combination of fact, fiction, reason, emotion and cultural background. The first two activities give students a chance to examine the influence of the media on people's perceptions regarding wolves. The two true stories of wolf encounters provide an opportunity to compare stories of big, bad wolf fiction with reality.
--- Create a Wolf Portrait -- grades 2-6.
--- An Encounter with a Wolf -- video from Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, about a woman's unexpected encounter with a wild wolf. All ages
Illustration by Trina Hyman
from "Little Red Riding Hood Retold"
Wolf Fact Sheets - Getting to Know Our Wolves!
A good way to understand wolves is to learn more about them -- not from fairy tales, but from scientific
research. These engaging handouts give kids a quick and easy way to look at the facts and learn the truth
about wolves. Sharing the fact sheet with friends and family is a great way to help educate others.
Grades Pre-K-1: The Life of the Pups. This booklet places its focus on the first year of a pup's life.
Designed to be printed back to back and then folded into a booklet form.
Grades 2-5: What is a pack? How far can a wolf hear? What animals do wolves hunt? Are wolves important?
This fact sheet answers these questions and many more, giving a good overview of the wolf.
Wolf Life Cycle (NGSS LS1-B)
The wolves' life cycle from infancy to maturity on the average is a two-year cycle. While the wolves are full-grown at one year of age, it can take another year to learn from their elders the responsibilities and skills needed to be good parent and effective hunters.
The Role of Wolves in the Ecosystem (NGSS LS2.A, LS2.B, LS2.C)
The reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone in 1995-96 brought unexpected ecological
changes to Yellowstone National Park's ecosystem -- a series of events known as a
"All animals are equal ... but all species don't have the same impact on the system they
are in." Wolves, as a keystone species, are one of those animals. Quote by Robert Payne,
who coined the terms "keystone species" and "trophic cascade."
The following materials and activities are designed to help students understand the key concepts of ecosystem, food webs, keystone species, trophic, trophic cascade, and biodiversity.
Follow-up lesson to the Wolves of Yellowstone video, grades 7-12. Created by The Nature Conservancy and PBS.
--- “How Wolves Change Rivers” -- from Sustainable Human, grades 6-12.
--- “The Ecologist Who Threw Starfish" --The story of Robert Payne's research on the impact of starfish on their ecosystem.
As keystone species, starfish and wolves both exert a critical influence on their ecosystems. Focusing on groundbreaking starfish research, this video does an excellent job of helping students understand the concepts of keystone
species and trophic cascades. The parallel with wolves becomes clear. (The full 19 min. video is well worth watching, but if
time is limited, the concepts are taught within the first 8 minutes.) Grades 6-12.
--- "How Starfish Changed Modern Ecology"-- a short overview of the above story, grades 4-5.
Activities and Handouts:
--- Direct vs. Indirect -- It's important to distinguish between the changes in the Yellowstone ecosystem which can
be directly attributed to the return of wolves and changes which were indirectly linked to their return. This activity helps
students to make that distinction.
Direct vs. Indirect activity -- includes instructions, answer sheet, and worksheet, grades 6-9.
--- Biodiversity -- Largely due to the extent of the indirect changes to the ecosystem when wolves returned to the
Yellowstone landscape, there was a significant increase in the ecosystem's biodiversity. The following activities will help
the students understand the interconnectedness of wolves and other plant and animal species in the ecosystem.
Food Web Energy Pyramid - Trophic Levels Activity (MS LS2.B) Grades 6-8
Gray wolves, being top predators, occupy the top trophic level. This activity will help students understand
the flow of energy through the levels. This will help them to better understand the interconnectedness
of species within the food web and the importance of top predators like wolves.
Wolf Art Activities
Wolf face coloring page/mask -- This coloring page can also be used to create a mask by coloring, cutting out the face and gluing a popsicle stick on the back. It's recommended the the eye holes be cut out on the outside of the wolf eyes.
Posters - Posters provide a great format for sharing information and communicating a message. Students can create posters to communicate a variety of information about wolves based on what they have learned. If displayed in the school hallway, their posters can become an important way to help wolves, by helping others to better understand them. Topics can include the big bad wolf?, wolf family life, wolf/human family comparison, how wolves benefit the ecosystem, physical adaptations, wolf communication, and others of interest.
See poster sample focused on physical adaptations.
Wolf Craft Workshops by Nowheres Wolf, creators of a stop-motion animation film about Oregon's wolf Journey, OR7