Night Stalkers: Education Worksheet

Video highlights from Night Stalkers

Upper Primary and Junior Secondary

Night Stalkers Education Worksheet

EPISODES IN THIS SERIES
Hyenas, Crocodiles and Leopards

EDUCATION SHEET EPISODE
Hyenas

SCHOOL LEVEL
Upper Primary amd Junior Secondary


EDUCATION DESCRIPTION: Hyenas
Amongst the multitude of Africa’s wild animals, hyenas have a bad reputation, generally perceived as cowardly scavengers. Cinematic technology challenges this belief, as thermal, starlight and infrared cameras penetrate the darkness and take you into the lives of hyenas and their unsuspecting prey like never before.  As thousands of wildebeest migrate through the savannah grasslands of the Masai Mara National Reserve, the cameras reveal a rarely seen, intelligent and playful side to Africa’s notorious hyenas. These bold, complex animals are skilled, cooperative hunters. Living together in large groups called clans, a testosterone-fuelled matriarch is the undisputed boss. Join the camera crew as they boldly follow hyenas through the dark of night on a fact-finding mission that will change your mind forever.


TEACHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Enter the private world of Africa’s spotted hyena, taking a close look at life in the den, from strict hierarchical relationships to the thrill of night hunting. Set in Kenya’s Masai Mara – more than 2000 sqkm of rolling savannah grasslands – Night Stalkers: Hyenas captures fascinating interaction between migrating wildebeest, hyenas and their arch enemies, lions.

Revolutionary cameras record intimate details of the hyena den – a crèche for nursing mothers and playground for the young. Cubs are born with sharp teeth and eyes wide open. From their first moments, they must fight to establish their rank in the clan, a rank they will keep for the rest of their lives. The strongest female reigns supreme, and males need permission to enter the den. Within the clan, elaborate greetings defuse conflicts, with lower-ranking animals rubbing the mouth, head and neck of superiors.

As night falls, hyenas set off in dribs and drabs, some preparing to hunt. The starlight camera focuses on a small group of hyenas approaching a wildebeest herd and shows how they make the herd run to detect sick or injured animals. An endurance test follows, with the wildebeest succumbing over distance, unable to match the strength and stamina of the hyenas. After the kill, we witness how the clan’s hierarchical structure even controls feeding rights. Males must give way, low-ranking hyenas wait their turn. Powerful jaws and huge appetites dispose of every scrap, even bones and teeth are digested.

Brilliant footage of night parties, courting couples and cooperative hunting strategies help complete the most comprehensive picture every recorded of Africa’s spotted hyenas. Join the clan and witness how these animals survive with each other and with other species in their competitive environment.

 
CURRICULUM POINTERS

Upper Primary Curriculum
The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to experience the joy of scientific discovery and to nurture students’ natural curiosity about the world around them. These ideas resonate with the concept of scientific literacy, a term that is well established in the science education literature.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale


Junior Secondary Curriculum
Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our curiosity and interest in making sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale


CURRICULUM OUTCOMES

Upper Primary
In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will:

•    Develop an interest in science and a curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions and speculate about the changing world in which they live
•    Develop an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims

Junior Secondary
In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will:

•    Develop an ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions about current and future applications of science while taking into account moral, ethical and social implications
•    Develop an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims


STUDENT LEARNING TASKS   

Upper Primary

Task 1
Download a map of Africa from:
http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps
Save the map to your files, or print it and paste it into your workbook.
Go back to the map and use the toggle to zoom in on Kenya.
• Find the Kenyan section of the Masai Mara Game Park and shade the area it occupies on your map.

Do some Internet research to find out
• The size of the Masai Mara Game Park
• The names of ten different animals that live there
• Three different habitats contained within the Masai Mara
• Which neighbouring country the Masai Mara borders
• Which national park it is part of.

Task 2
Africa’s spotted hyenas like to prey on wildebeest. Draw a picture of a spotted hyena and a wildebeest to scale, then write a descriptive paragraph under each one, including the following:
•    Colour, pattern and type of coat or hide, shape of face, type of feet, teeth and tail
•    Maximum size
•    Maximum weight
•    Diet
•    Average life span.

Task 3
Write a 50-word paragraph each to describe a day in the life of a spotted hyena cub,
young adolescent and adult.

Task 4
Spotted hyenas can be found in three different types of habitat in Africa. Write a 50-word paragraph to describe each of these habitats.

Task 5
•    Name five tactics hyenas use to help them hunt.
•    Of these attributes, which do you think is most important?
•    Explain why in about 50 words.

Junior Secondary

Task 1
Do some Internet research to find answers to the following questions about the Masai Mara:
•    What is it?
•    Where is it?
•    How big is it?
•    What are three types of habitat it encompasses?
•    What is the name of the traditional people who live there?
•    What are 20 different animals that can be found there?

Task 2
Do some Internet research to find answers to the following questions about hyenas:
•        In which parts of Africa can you find hyenas?
•        How many different types of hyena are there?
•        How do they differ from each other?
•        What type of habitats do they live in?
•        What type of food do they eat?

Task 3
Compare the life of a lion with that of a hyena. Describe five similarities and five differences between the two. Describe a situation in which a lion could dominate an encounter with a hyena, and one in which the hyena dominate.

Task 4
Use the Internet to find answers to the following questions about the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara:
• Where do they come from?
• Where do they go?
• How far is it?
• How long does it take?
• Why do they migrate?
• What are five challenges they might encounter on the way?

Task 5
In 150 words, describe from a hyena’s point of view, and from a wildebeest’s point of view, the process of a successful hunt. Accompany your description with a diagram.
 

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