Setting up small mammal hotels
- Learning outcome
To identify the needs of a small mammal in order to attract one to a “mammal hotel”.
- Key Stubbington focus
Environment - mammals
- For Key Stage 2
- Duration 1 hour
- Success criteria
- I can identify what a small mammal needs to survive: food, drink, and to be warm, dry and safe
- I can apply this to prepare and place a mammal hotel
- Session plan
The evidence of mammals collected by the children during the ‘Tracks and Signs’ session is briefly recalled. The importance of finding actual specimens as evidence of mammal activity in the conservation area is also discussed.
The idea of putting out mammal hotels is introduced and 5 things a small mammal would need to survive overnight are elicited from children.
Dry food will be placed in the hotels (contains nuts).
To meet this need, a piece of apple will be placed inside the hotel. The mammals will drink the juice.
Hay will be used to fill the larger hotel compartment.
Hotels will be placed in plastic tubes in designated areas of the conservation area to keep water out.
The tubes mentioned above will help keep predators from opening the hotels overnight. The ends of the tubes will be camouflaged with leaves, twigs etc.
The session leader will demonstrate how to set-up a mammal hotel. Children work in pairs (or groups of 3 if a large group – check with Stubbington staff) to assemble and prepare a mammal hotel which will meet the overnight needs of the animals it may attract.
Children will have the opportunity to practice putting empty hotels together before filling them with hay, food and a piece of apple.
Once all the hotels have been set up, children will take them to a designated area of the grounds where they will be placed inside plastic pipes and camouflaged to protect them from predators. Children should leave themselves a mark to ensure they can find their hotels the next day. Remind children of the importance of remembering their hotel number and location before they leave and to make sure they leave the hotels undisturbed overnight.
Less able children
- Use simple vocabulary, guide answers if necessary
- Allow for thinking or partner talking time
This session complements the Tracks and Signs session well.
Follow up activities
Design a hotel or home for a different mammal species.
- Health and safety checks
- Allergies - nuts, hay
- Children should keep hands away from their faces for the duration of the session and wash hands immediately afterwards
- No food or drink should be consumed during the session