Return to the Wild - Evolving perspectives on Canadian wildlife

Lesson plan: Watch the grey wolves. See the climate changes.


Grade Level:

Middle school – Grade 7

Time Required:

One or two classes


The grey wolf may be the next “Canary in the Coal Mine” for climate change.

Main Objective

Under the Theme of Interaction, students relate effects of climate change to the habitat and patterns of the grey wolf.

Curriculum Connection

The Ontario Curriculum: History and Geography, Grades Seven and Eight

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe the habitat and range of the grey wolf populations of North America
  • explain adaptations of the wolves to their habitat and ecosystem.
  • relate climate change to the impact of the grey wolves on their territories and ecosystems.




Describe to students the tradition of using canaries in coal mines as a way to indicate air quality in mine shafts.

Review the concept of climate change and how it affects habitats.

Lesson Development

Have students research the habitat and range of the grey wolf populations of North America.

Review terminology such as : ecosystem, climate, climate change, predator, scavenger, range, habitat

Hand out the grey wolf Work Sheet provided to gather information


Collect the Work Sheet answers and correct them.

Lead a summary discussion of how wolf activities and the scavengers that follow them can indicate changes in climate patterns and ecosystems



Ask students to describe how other animals can be used to predict natural events.

Give some example of climate changes.

Lesson Development

Complete the work sheet using the web sites, Wilderness Who’s Who references and other material available.


Students complete the work sheet and submit it.

Discuss how the activities of the wolf packs are indicators of climate change.

Lesson Extension

Use the Hinterland Who’s Who web site video guide to have the interested students make a one minute video of the grey wolf. ( Make your own HWW  )

Visit or contact the Haliburton Forest Wolf Centre for additional information on the habitat, activities and distribution of grey wolf populations in North America.

Watch the movie based on Canadian writer Farley Mowat’s autobiographical book ”Never Cry Wolf.”

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