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Identifying Moving Manatees

When Ranger Wayne takes roll call in the Blue Spring Run, he has to identify manatees (sometimes several at once) as they are swimming by him in the canoe. All the while, he must do his best to be sure his observations are accurate.

Do you think you can identify a moving manatee like Ranger Wayne does?

We won't make you go in the canoe or get wet, you'll only need to pick from five possible manatees (instead of the hundreds Ranger knows), and we'll only ask you to identify one manatee (and luckily it isn't moving very fast).

Let's get started. Study the video very carefully. What identifying features can you see on the animal through the ripples on the water?

Be sure to compare the features you see in the video
to this scar sheet (Click to enlarge, print & go!)

Try This! Journaling Questions

1) Why is identifying a moving manatee more challenging than identifying one that is still? What is different?

2) Would you prefer to identify a manatee "in person" while you are near it (in a canoe or standing on a dock), or would you prefer to identify it from a photo or video? Why do you prefer one or the other? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each technique?

3) Why do you think Ranger Wayne can identify manatees more easily than you might be able to? What is it about him that makes him better at doing this? What might make you better at doing this?

National Science Education Standards
Science as Inquiry

Ask a question about objects, organisms, events. (K-4)

Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer. Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms. (K-4)

Different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations. Some involve observing and describing objects, organisms, or events. (5-8)

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