What do Elephant Seals and Wolves have in common?

They are mammals?  Sure.  But there’s more.  To find the common ground these two animals share I have to explain how this thinking came about.

Grade 2 is learning about the sandy shore and preparing for a trip to see elephant seals at Ano Nuevo next Friday.  Elephant seals use the sandy shore as a place to breed and have babies.  While pups eat a fattening meal on the sandy shore, they are the only ones.  Once their mothers stop giving them milk they are dependent on the ocean for their food like their parents.  To help students connect to the idea that this animal does different things in different places I put a few pictures up on the Smart Board of different places where we might do different things: Home, a Restaurant, School, and an Office.  While we found lots of things that we do differently at each location, we also found that at every place we go (as humans) we eat!  This got me thinking…

A good habitat is full of food.

If that is indeed true, then a wolf habitat would need a wolf’s favorite food- elk.  But in order for elk to be plentiful elk need their own food- grass and other plant foods.  So a wolf needs grass in its habitat as much as it needs elk.  Suddenly we are talking about a food web similar to this one (see right) created by a Grade 1 student.  In order for Grade 1 to know what to put in their wolf habitats they created a wolf food web.  Wolves and elephant seals both depend on the food they eat for energy and live as close as they can to the place they can access that food.  And humans hunt at the supermarket and carry lunch to school in a lunch box.  In the end all animals have something in common, food is what connects us to the places we like to be.