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Otter Smorgasbord

Source Institutions

    University of Nebraska State Museum

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Otter Smorgasbord

In this graphing activity (on pages 33-40), learners investigate how much and what kinds of food sea otter pups eat during their first year of life. Learners discover that young sea otters eat more than two times the amount of food needed for a boy or girl of the same weight. The "Think It Over" section prompts learners to consider how a oil spill would affect otters' crucial food supply. This activity can be used with math lessons involving graphing, marine science lessons, and even comparative nutrition lessons.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per group of students)

  • Beachcomber's Guide or pictures of kelp forest animals downloaded from the Web or other sources - photocopy for each participant
  • 1 calculator
  • colored pencils
  • 1 sheet 12 x 18 inch white construction paper


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
    • Measurement
      • Rate
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills

Designed specifically for

  • Rural dweller

Culture, ethnicity, and gender

  • Girls

    • Explicity developed for this group


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • University of Nebraska State Museum; Nebraska Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development

Source Collection:

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All Rights Reserved, University of Nebraska State Museum, ©2001

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation Informal Science Education Program, 9909496
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute


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