September 2002


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Welcome to Science Class, NSTA's monthly electronic newsletter for science educators. Every month, Science Class features a curriculum topic that is supported by a range of NSTA-approved teaching resources: news stories, Internet "SciLinks," NSTA journal articles (sorted by grade level), books, and more. In addition, every issue includes a column on professional development, as well as NSTA news highlights.

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Animal Behaviors

Ready or not, the new school year is here. Whether you're a first-time teacher, a veteran of many years, or something in-between, we wish you the best of luck for a successful, productive year. We also hope that NSTA's many resources for science teachers can help make your job a little bit easier.

This month's issue of Science Class focuses on a topic that is a consistent student favorite: animal behaviors. Although we tend to think of this topic as being most appropriate for elementary-aged students, it's also a great jumping-off point for older students, offering strong connections to evolutionary theory, physiology, ecology, and other subdisciplines. For example, in this issue, we'll explore some of the traits animals have developed over millions of years of evolution to maximize their reproductive success; the strategies they use to ensure their survival in a highly competitive world; and the adaptations they have made (and continue to make) to changing and sometimes hostile environmental conditions.

From the slimy maneuverings of tiny snails to the sophisticated communication methods of giant elephants, the world of animal behaviors is a complex and infinitely fascinating one. As you delve into the new school year, we hope this issue gives you some of the resources you need to make that world come alive for your students.

Animal Behaviors in the News

Article summaries provided by the NSTA WebNews Service.

In a healthy ecosystem, one is likely to find many animals thriving in a dynamic interplay of friends and enemies, predators and prey. What happens, then, when a nonnative species is introduced (usually accidentally) into an existing ecosystem? As this month's news stories show, the result can be ecological chaos, with the 'invader' quickly establishing dominance over the native organisms. What's more, the costs to humans can often be quite high, a reality that is prompting many countries to crack down on their unwanted guests.

Click here for the latest news stories.

Animal Behaviors on the Net

SciLinks is an interactive, Web-based service from NSTA that connects your lesson and/or course materials (books and journal articles) with online content chosen just for your selected topics. Members can search by keyword or phrase and receive a list of teacher-approved Internet resources.

Elementary: Animal Camouflage

Intermediate: Behaviors and Adaptations

High School:  Animal Behavior$74148833553355

Animal Behaviors in NSTA Journal Articles

The following journal articles are sorted by grade level to provide you with ideas for classroom lessons and activities related to animal behaviors. Many of the 'animals' featured are tiny creatures, chosen for their suitability to the classroom.


•        Wings of Spring

        Invertebrate Inquiry

        First Flight


        Red Fish, Blue Fish

        The Lady or the Tiger? Insect Decision-Making Investigations

        Something to Crow About

High School:

        Planimal House

        Aquatic Ecology

        Cicada Studies

Books on Animal Behaviors

Check out these titles from NSTA Press and NSTA Recommends:

        Hands-On Herpetology: Exploring Ecology and Conservation

        Classroom Creature Culture: Algae to Anoles

        Introduced Species

        Elephants and Their Young: Science and Math Activities for Young Children

Professional Development

An important facet of a teacher's professional development involves selecting appropriate learning strategies. In this column, the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse provides techniques for professional learning to accomplish those learning goals. Learn from experts how to create, adapt, and use instructional materials to improve teaching practice and student learning.

Click here to learn more:

If you are interested in Professional Development from NSTA, click here:


NSTA Highlights are provided by the NSTA WebNews Service. For additional NSTA Highlights, as well as the latest science and education news, visit

Our NSTA Highlights section is full of information for you this month. It's back-to-school time and we want to start your year off right. We've included information on ways to save you money and get you involved in NSTA.

NSTA Wants Your PreK'6 Interdisciplinary Lesson Plans

Join Your Colleagues at NSTA's Fall Conventions

$250 Tax Deduction for Eligible Educators

Members save 20% on NSTA Press Resources

NSTA members want the best in teaching resources at the lowest possible cost, so NSTA is pleased to announce that members will receive a 20% discount on the list price on all NSTA Press books.  Other publishers' titles offered by NSTA will continue to be discounted to members at 10%. Browse and buy NSTA Press books and resources 24/7 at our online Science Store at

Another Member Benefit: Join an NSTA Committee

NSTA President's Column: The Power of Partnerships
2002-07-26 - Carolyn Randolph, NSTA President

Order an NSTA Catalog

Phone: 800-277-5300 or 301-638-0200; fax:  888-433-0526 (U.S. and Canada only);

or e-mail:

NSTA Members Can Save on Car Insurance

Visit GEICO Direct at today!

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