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ECO ART Critters

ECO Art Critter Challenge

What's in your backyard, cupboard, or recycle bins? stick turtle

Let's use materials you find where you are to make a virtual museum! The animals in the Fairbanks Museum are a collection of creatures from around the world. Each display helps us observe and understand our ecosystems and environment. While the Fairbanks Museum galleries are dark, you can create your own museum of natural history. We'll set up a virtual gallery to enjoy the variety and beauty of your creations.

Materials

Use whatever you find! Critters can be made of recycled or natural materials. 

Now construct your critter! Our photos are just to get you started -- your creativity will add new dimensions. Let your creature come alive with the colors, shapes, and textures you find around you!

plate turtleBuild your critter with characteristics that help you think about how your creation lives -- what it needs to thrive. These guidelines will help give you some characteristics to focus on when create your critter. 

Reptiles

These creatures have dry scaly skin. They are ectothermic, meaning they get their energy from the sun and their surroundings (ie.- turtles bask on logs to get warm and then go back in the water to cool off). Some different types of reptiles: snakes, turtles, alligators, crocs, and lizards.

Birds 

paper birdThese creatures have feathers covering their body and most birds have wings to help them fly. Birds also have beaks- different types of beaks serve different purposes (ie.-birds of prey have sharp curved beaks for ripping and tearing their food and hummingbirds have long thin beaks for sipping nectar from flowers). Some different types of birds: owls, cardinals, emus, penguins, turkeys, peacocks.

Insects

These creatures have 6 legs, a hard outside called an exoskeleton, 3 main body parts (head, thorax, abdomen), compound eyes, and antennae. Some have wings. Some different types of insects: bees, beetles, butterflies, dragonflies, ants, etc. 

Mammals

snow faceThese creatures have fur or hair covering their body. There are different types of mammal coverings- fur, wool, hair, quills- but they are all made of the same thing: keratin. Mammals are endothermic- this means they create their own heat inside their body. Their coverings help keep that warmth in. Some different types of mammals: dogs, cats, sheep, horses, elephants, porcupines, monkeys, and whales.

Amphibians

These creatures have wet slimy skin. They are also ectothermic like reptiles. Amphibians live part of their life in the water and part of their life on land (ie: frogs lay their eggs in the water, they hatch into tadpoles, and slowly grow front and back legs as they turn into adult frogs). Some different types of amphibians: frogs, toads, and salamanders.

 

Fish

These creatures live their lives in the water (ponds, streams, rivers, lakes and oceans). They have gills to help them breathe underwater (unlike other animals that have lungs to breathe) and have scales covering their body. Most have fins to help them move through the water. Some different types of fish: clownfish (Nemo!), blue tang (Dory!), salmon, swordfish, angler fish, and sharks.

 

Discussion Questions

While making your critters, ask your children leading questions to get them to think about why their animal has certain characteristics. 

  • Why does a turtle have a hard shell? 

  • What does an insect use its antennae for? 

  • What does your animal use it’s sharp teeth or claws to do?

  • What is your animal covered with?

  • Where would this animal live?

  • Does your animal’s color have a purpose (does it help it hide, attract, or warn other animals to stay away)? 

  • How does your animal move?

Make it social!

Please share your creations with us! You can post the photos you take in the comments section of the videos we post each week on the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium’s Facebook page or you can post them on your own Facebook page and include this hashtag: #FairbanksECOcritters. Above all, have fun creating! We can’t wait to see your critters!

This program was developed in partnership with early childhood educator, April Zajko, M.Ed., whose ideas and organizing structure brought ECO Art Critters to life.