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Activity

Animal dung study

Summary: 
Look closely at animal dung (e.g. horse), to see what is in it, and how it compares to what the animals eat. Discuss what animals might eat dung.
Science content (2016 curriculum): 
Biology: Food Webs, Ecosystems, Biomes (3, 4)
Science topic (2005 curriculum connection): 
Life Science: Needs of Living Things (grade 1)
Life Science: Animal Growth and Changes (grade 2)
Life Science: Habitats and Communities (grade 4)
Life Science: Ecosystems (grade 7)
Lessons activity is in: 
Materials: 
  • dried [horse] dung in petri dishes
  • whole piece of [horse] dung
  • magnifiers
Procedure: 

What is this? Look at it with your magnifiers. (don't tell students what it is until they have looked at it and identified grass/seeds etc in it first).
Animal dung! Here is one whole piece of dung. You each have part of one of these.

All animals make waste, once they have extracted as much nutrition from their food as they can.

Use magnifiers to see what is in in dung. Here is the food they eat. How does it compare?

The [horse] does not digest much of the plants they eat. Plants are hard to digest. There is a lot of nutrition left in [horse] dung. So much that it is food for another animal.
What animals might use the nutrition in [horse] dung?
Worms, wood bugs (they eat rotting plants), birds (they eat seeds).

Grades tested: 
Gr 1
Gr 2
Teacher: 
Ingrid
Stephanie Monaghan
Teaching site: 
Horse riding stables, Richmond
Activity originally developed and delivered: 

Horse riding stables with Gordon Elementary class