Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Squirrelly Behavior


In this activity, students will be exposed to animal behavior as a field of science and asked to practice sciences skills such as identifying a question, developing a testable hypothesis, designing a study, following a protocol to make observations, analyzing data, and discussing their results. They will also practice skills such as patience, concentration, and dedication.

Above all, a behavior watch provides structure to watching animals, an activity that is inherently interesting to most students.


Conduct a study through a behavior watch to:

  1. Identify and investigate behaviors that animals perform in their environments.
  2. Engage in an outdoor investigation that describes or explains different types of animal behavior.
  3. Understand the differences between casual versus structured scientific observations, and draw conclusions based on careful documentation and analysis.
  4. Follow written protocols to make observations and collect data.
  5. Collect, record, analyze, and report data using a variety of measurements and graphic representations.

Let's Get Started

Step 1

Print out all worksheets and datasheets. Each student will likely need a copy.

Step 2

Follow the link below to the first step of the online student lesson.