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Rattlesnakes of Arizona

Here are some ideas to incorporate the Rattlesnakes of Arizona poster into your second grade classroom. The appropriate standards are listed below each activity.


Many people believe that you can tell how old a snake is by the number of segments in the rattle. However, this is incorrect. A snake gains a segment each time it sheds. Sometimes a snake can shed more than once a year. In addition, segments often break off. Even though you may not be able to age a snake by its rattle, there are some organisms in which you can use some physical feature to age it. Research other animals and plants for which this is true.

  • Technology: Standard 5, Foundations 1, Objective 2


Many people are afraid of snakes. Often this fear is the result of misunderstandings. Develop a survey that you can ask your family and friends. Ask them whether or not they like snakes. Be sure to include questions which allow them to explain why they have their opinions. Do you notice any patterns? Do you think if you educated these people about snakes, their opinions would change?

  • Science: Strand 1, Concept 2, Objective 4

Media Portrayal

Think about recent stories (whether they are from books, television, or movies) that you have seen that contained snakes. Were they portrayed in a positive or a negative manner? Choose one in which you feel snakes were represented unfairly. Rewrite the story to include an accurate description of these animals.

  • Writing: Strand 3, Concept 1, Objective 1


Living in Arizona we have to take precautions to insure that we are not bitten by a snake. These might include wearing long pants and thick boots. Use a computer to develop a flyer or brochure on snake safety tips that local parks could hand out to hikers. In addition, you may consider researching proper ways to deal with snake bites and including this in your promotional material.

  • Technology: Standard 3, Foundations 3, Objective 1

Benefits of Venom

Although rattlesnake venom is dangerous to humans and small animals, it may also be helpful. In fact, scientists are currently researching different diseases that may actually be treated with rattlesnake venom. Use the Internet to find ways in which rattlesnake venom may actually help humans.

  • Technology: Standard 5, Foundations 1, Objective 2


In Arizona, rattlesnakes are divided into two different genuses: crotalus and sisturus. Although all are considered rattlesnakes, those belonging to one genus are thought to be more closely related to each other than they are to those of the other genus, much like you are more closely related to your brothers and sisters than you are to your cousins. Research the difference between the two genuses.

  • Technology: Standard 5, Foundations 1, Objective 2


Research the number of rattlesnake species found in the United States and the world. Design a graph which can compare the number of rattlesnake species found in the world, the U.S., and Arizona. Is it best to use a bar graph, line graph, pie chart, pictograph, or some other graph? If possible, make a similar graph which shows the number of rattlesnakes in each area that are protected.

  • Technology: Standard 5, Foundations 1, Objective 2

Dangerous Bites

Create a graph using the information in the chart below. Use the Internet to research additional animals and include that data in your graph. Some animals you may include are alligators, mountain lions, rodents, and skunks.

Table 1: Estimates of Annual Human Fatalities in the United States from Wildlife Bites or Attacks
Number of Fatalities
Bees and Wasps
Venomous Snakes

Michael R. Conover, William C. Pitt, K.K. Kessler, T.J. DuBow, and W.A. Sanborn. "Review of human injuries, illnesses, and economic losses caused by wildlife in the United States." Wildlife Society Bulletin. Vol. 23, No. 3. pp. 407-414. Fall 1995.

"Bee and Hymenoptera Stings." eMedicine.

"Dog Bite Statistics." Northeast Arkansans for Animals.

  • Technology: Standard 5, Foundations 1, Objective 2

Wild Kids

Check out the Wild Kids activity page focused on venomous animals. Be sure to pick the appropriate grade level.

  • Reading: Strand 3, Concept 2, Objective 1



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