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The Kid Should See This, Dr. Emily Fairfax


3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Videos, 44 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West

Beaver Dams and Wildfire, a Stop-Motion Demonstration

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  • This brief stop-motion video illustrates how beaver dams have the ability to change their surrounding environment, particularly in ways that can slow the spread of wildfires. 
  • Through this video, article, and related links, students will learn about the hydrologic functions of beaver dams and how they might play a role in building climate resilience in their ecosystem. 
Teaching Tips


  • The video is playful and engaging, providing students with a visual demonstration of how beaver dams can be beneficial to their ecosystem. 
  • This resource provides links to more than 10 additional sites that provide further learning. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have basic background knowledge of beavers and why they build dams. 


  • A graphic organizer (such as an "already Know-Want to know-what did I Learn" chart) may help students activate background knowledge and compare their prior knowledge about beavers to new learning. 
  • Since the video is short, teachers might choose to show it more than once to give students an opportunity to process their understanding of the concept. 
  • Have students create their own 3-D models in pairs (using pencils, rulers, erasers, or whatever is on hand) to match the video and then have them explain it to you or to another group.
  • Art classes could discuss how stop-motion animation helps illustrate concepts and students could also demonstrate their own new learning through drawings or other art forms. 
Scientist Notes
This resource is a 45-second stop-motion animation demonstrating the ways in which beavers and beaver dams can change stream ecosystems and make them more resilient to disturbances such as wildfires. This is a cute and effective stop-motion animation. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2 Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.3 Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.2 Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • National Core Arts Standards
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceive and analyze artistic work.
      • VA:Re7.2.4a Analyze components in visual imagery that convey messages.
  • Related Resources


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