Watch the grey wolves. See the climate changes.

Lesson Overview
The grey wolf may be the next “Canary in the Coal Mine” for climate change.

Grade Level
Middle school – Grade 7

Time Required
One or two classes

Curriculum Connection (Province/Territory and course)
The Ontario Curriculum: History and Geography, Grades Seven and Eight

Link to the Return to the Wild Virtual Exhibition

Additional Resources, Materials and Equipment Required
- Canadian Atlas Online
- Hinterland Who’s Who
- Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre
- University of California Berkeley, Press release March 2005
“Wolves alleviate impact of climate change on food supply, finds new
study” Sarah Yang University of California Berkeley .( )

Main Objective
Under the Theme of Interaction, students relate effects of climate change to the habitat and patterns of the grey wolf.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:
- describe the habitat and range of the grey wolf populations of North America
- explain adaptations of the wolves to their habitat and ecosystem.
- relate climate change to the impact of the grey wolves on their territories and ecosystems.

The Lesson
Teacher Activity/Student Activity

Describe to students the tradition of using canaries in coal mines as a way to indicate air quality in mine shafts.
Review the concept of climate change and how it affects habitats. Ask students to describe how other animals can be used to predict natural events.
Give some example of climate changes.

Lesson Development
Have students research the habitat and range of the grey wolf populations of North America.
Review terminology such as : ecosystem, climate, climate change, predator, scavenger, range, habitat
Hand out the grey wolf Work Sheet provided to gather information
Complete the work sheet using the web sites, Wilderness Who’s Who references and other material available.

Collect the Work Sheet answers and correct them.
Lead a summary discussion of how wolf activities and the scavengers that follow them can indicate changes in climate patterns and ecosystems Students complete the work sheet and submit it.
Discuss how the activities of the wolf packs are indicators of climate change.

Lesson Extension
Use the Hinterland Who’s Who web site video guide to have the interested students make a one minute video of the grey wolf. ( Make your own HWW )
Visit or contact the Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre for additional information on the habitat, activities and distribution of grey wolf populations in North America.
Watch the movie based on Canadian writer Farley Mowat’s autobiographical book ”Never Cry Wolf.”

Assessment of Student Learning
Grade the worksheet.
Include a question on the grey wolf and climate change in the next test.

Further Reading
“Never Cry Wolf” by Farley Mowat. (1963) Back Bay Books 2001)

Link to Canadian National Standards for Geography
Essential Element #5: Environment and Society – Environmental Issues. The effect of climate change on the ecosystem and adaptation of grey wolf populations.
Geographic Skill #1 – Asking Geographic Questions. Plan how to answer Geographic Questions


Grey Wolf

1a Look at the map “Range of the Grey Wolf” on the Return to the Wild web site. Describe the regions of North America where Grey Wolves live.

1b. What is a “habitat”?
1c. What type of habitat do Grey Wolves need?

2a. What food does the Grey Wolf usually eat?
2b. Why do Wolves hunt in packs?
2c. Why are packs so effective at getting their food?

3a. What are scavengers?
3b What types of scavenger follow wolves when they hunt?

4a. How does a good supply of game to hunt indicate climate change?
4b. How do scavengers benefit from increased wolf kills?

5.Explain a connection between the “Canary in the Coal Mine” and the wolves’ successful hunt for food as environmental indicators.
Canadian Geographic

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