Shape Up!

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In this activity (25th on the page) about learning and memory, learners explore a training method that animal trainers employ called "shaping." Working in pairs, learners will attempt to "shape" each other to complete a task through rewarding and reinforcing positive behavior. Learners will earn "treats" for each correct behavior. Use this activity to teach learners how behaviors can be learned and trained and/or how trainers use non-verbal techniques to work with animals.

Quick Guide

  • Preparation Time: Under 5 minutes
  • Learning Time: 10 to 30 minutes
  • Estimated materials cost: $1 - $5 per group of students
  • Age Range: Ages 8 - 18
  • Resource Types:
  • Language: English

Materials List (per group of students)

  • Collection of "treats" (candies, pennies, or buttons)

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Food and Cooking
  • Physical Activity


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Human Body
      • The Brain and Nervous System
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

To use this activity learners need to

  • see
  • hear
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

This resource is part of


Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D.


All Rights Reserved, Eric H. Chudler, ©2010



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