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Drawing of Owl

Story Investigations

Adults can lead discussions with young readers to help them further comprehend this story.


1. Many animals living in the desert are considered nocturnal. This means they are more active at night, usually due to the very hot temperatures in the day time.

  • Which animals in the story are mostly nocturnal?

  • Why were some of these animals awake during the hot part of the day?

  • What other animals that commonly live in the desert are also nocturnal?

  • Do you know of other animals in the world that are nocturnal?

2. A wild animal must sometimes exhibit a defense to protect itself. A “defense” is a trait special to each kind of  animal. It uses this defense when threatened or frightened.

  • What are the defenses various animals say they can use in this story?

  • Can you name other animals and the defenses they may use?

  • Which animals found in the desert are considered endangered? Do you know why?

  • Discuss the use of appropriate defenses and strategies people can use when angry, afraid or in danger. 


3. Vance, the turkey vulture saw vast piles of trash at certain places in the desert.

  • Why do you think there were huge piles of trash in some areas of the desert?

  • How did some trash get into the desert other than the trash people left?

  • What other parts of the world see large piles or gobs of trash?

  • Discuss what you could do if you visit the desert and see trash.


4. To discuss or write about: 

  • If you were an animal who lived in the desert: Where would you live? What would you eat? What would your defenses be? 

  • If you have ever traveled to the desert tell about your trip. What did you see? What is different about a desert and a forest? How did you feel when you visited the desert?  What sounds did you hear?

  • What are some ways to help clean up trash and recycle at home, at school or in other places around town?


5. To promote the main concept and help others understand this issue of trash/recycling. 

  • Draw a picture of the animals and plants in a desert setting. Add an important message about protecting the desert or recycling. Hang the picture in a prominent location at your school, at work, or in the community.   

  • Create a picture or short story about another part of the world that suffers from trash issues.  Share it with family and friends.

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