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     Introduction / Purpose of Project


The RoadKill project is designed to involve students and teachers with scientific monitoring of an environmental parameter using the Internet and to increase participant awareness of motor vehicle hazards with wildlife. Monitoring roadkill brings excitement and stimulating conversation to all.

The unmotivated student becomes extremely interested in a gruesome subject. Students soon realize that there are many animals killed or injured by motor vehicles. Roadkills vary depending on the population of the community, the amount of traffic, and the type of roads. Migratory patterns of animals and habitat of the local area will also affect the number of roadkills.

Students and teachers will collect roadkill data in their community for analysis as well as compare their data to other areas participating in the project. Overall, the roadkill project can be an important addition to an environmental science education.

The RoadKill project is applicable to students of all ages and ability across many disciplines. Teachers may participate in this project as long as their school has access to the World Wide Web in order to submit and download the data.

The purpose of this project is to give students an awareness and understanding of the natural world around them. Often, humans and wildlife do come into conflict. Roadways have divided habitat and natural corridors of travel for many species of wildlife, and roadkill statistics are evidence of this phenomenon.

National Educational Technology Standards

The RoadKill 2012 project addresses the following National Educational Technology Standards. The content standards are for middle school students; (Grades 4-9) but are easily adapted for elementary and high school students. We hope these standards will provide a valuable resource for teachers seeking to incorporate the RoadKill project into their core curricula.
Standard 2
Demonstrate knowledge of current changes in information technologies and the effect those changes have on the workplace and society.
Standards 3 and 5
Use content-specific tools, software, and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing calculators, exploratory environments, Web tools) to support learning and research.
Standards 3 and 6
Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning throughout the curriculum.
Standards 4, 5 and 6
Design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., Web pages, videotapes) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom.
Standards 4 and 5
Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom.
Standards 5 and 6
Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems.
Standards 2, 5, 6
Research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic information sources concerning real-world problems.

National Science Education Standards

We have included a correlation of the RoadKill 2012 project curriculum to the National Science Education Standards. The chart below shows how the RoadKill project correlates with specific National Science Education Standards for Grades 5 through 8.
Content Standard A: Science As an InquiryStudents learn about scientific inquiry and develop the abilities necessary to perform it.
Content Standard C:
Life Science
Students should develop an understanding about the structure and function of living systems, reproduction and heredity, regulation and behavior, populations and ecosystems, and the diversity and adaptations of organisms.
Content Standard E:
Science and Technology
Students should learn about science and technology and develop the abilities necessary for technological design.
Content Standard F:
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Students should develop an understanding of personal health, populations, resources, environments, and natural hazards. Students should also learn about the role of science and technology in society.
Content Standard G:
History and Nature of Science
Students should develop an understanding about the nature and history of science and learn that science is a human endeavor.


Teacher Objectives

To use the Internet to send and receive roadkill data from other participating schools.
To use roadkill data to teach ecological principles.
To use roadkill data in ways to portray information graphically.
To use roadkill data to teach elementary concepts in statistical analysis.

Student Objectives

To compare the data from participating schools.
To recognize animal species in their community.
To understand the migratory patterns of different animals.
To understand reciprocal effects between humans and wildlife.
To predict which type of animal will be most and least killed by motor vehicles.
To understand the habitats and ecological importance of small and large mammals, reptiles, and birds.
To compare the relationship between geography and topography and the types and number of roadkill in different locales and states

Project Protocol

The project protocol for RoadKill 2012 reflects the use of our online database software program. Please click here to read the "RoadKill Database Note" file. This section describes the database and how you can download the information to your comupter. (You should print a copy of this page for later reference).

From March 4th to April 28th each student is assigned a road that is frequently traveled to and from school. This road is to be monitored at least twice a day for an eight week time period. Once a student observes a flattened "roadent", a report is then entered on a designated RoadKill chart that you can provide in your classroom.

On each Monday, the teacher will ask for the numbers of animals that were killed on the roads, the road classification, and speed limit along with the number of miles monitored by each student.

All participants are expected to participate in 7 of the 8 weeks of monitoring. Most schools have a one week vacation during this time period, and information need not be collected during that week. Weekly data reports should be sent to the RoadKill database during each week of the project. It is important to send these reports on time as other teachers and students will be using the data for weekly analysis.

Time Frame

The RoadKill monitoring project will run from March 4th through April 28, 2012. Teachers and students may continue to collect and send data after these dates if they wish, entering individual data sets according to the date that it was collected. This will take some re-programming for our online database so if you do have an interest to continue (and there are enough requests for this) we will make the database modifications.

During the time frame of March 4th through April 28th please report the data for each week within 7 days of the last day of that week. For example, week one should be reported no later than March 17th. The RoadKill monitoring weeks are listed below:

Week #1 March 4-10, 2012
Week #2 March 11-17, 2012
Week #3 March 18-24, 2012
Week #4 March 25-31, 2012
Week #5 April 1-7, 2012
Week #6 April 8-14, 2012
Week #7 April 15-21, 2012
Week #8 April 22-28, 2012

The success of this project depends on timely reporting. Data summaries can be obtained by searching the RoadKill database. Instructions for downloading the RoadKill database and working with the information can be found in the RoadKill Database Notes file.

Sending Data as a Group

Teachers may send their data as a group during this 8 week project, but must send different reports for each classified road setting. For example, if your school is located in a urban setting, there could be as many as 3 reports sent in each week: data for streets with speed limit less than 35 mph.; data for roads above 35 mph.; or data for Interstate Highways.

How to Count

For each type of roadway listed above, the teacher and/or students must pick a specific distance to monitor. Each student should be given a specific distance along a chosen road to monitor (for example a 0.5 mile section of a street or several miles on a highway). As mentioned earlier, road classifications, conditions, and environments can change very quickly over short distances. Thus one student should monitor only one type of a road classification.

Teachers need to total the miles for each road type for their group of students that are participating. (i.e. 17 miles for a suburban highway would include all reports from students that have this particular type of road).

What to Count

You count all animals that are found dead either in the roadway or along the sides of the roadway. You may record any animal, bird or reptile. If the "roadent" does not appear on the database input form provided, please add your data for that animal to the comments category specifying the name of the animal and how many you are including.

Some Menus in the RoadKill Data Input Form - The following is a discussion of various menus that you will see on the RoadKill Data Input Form. Please take the time to read through each area that is outlined so that you will be knowledgeable when selecting the options for data submittal.


Identification of Your School/Organization

Elementary School
Middle School
High School
Home School
Member of Environmental Organization
Member of General Public

It is important to not only select the correct school/organization option from the menu but also to identify the name of your school/organization in the space that follows that in the input form. Some of the searches that will be done of the data may use this criteria for a search value therefore it is very important to correctly fill in these spaces. If you are from "Member of an Environmental Organization" be sure to include the name of your organization in the next space. If you are reporting from the "Member of General Public" menu then you should include the term "General Public" in the School/Org. Name space on the data input form.
Selection of the Week Number

Week #1 March 4-10, 2012
Week #2 March 11-17, 2012
Week #3 March 18-24, 2012

Between March 4th - April 28th, be sure to select the appropriate week number for the data you are to submit. Seasonal differences in the spring can have a dramatic effect on the amount and type of roadkill. One of the parameters we will be looking at very closely is the change to daylight savings time. Vacations should also be reported by sending in a report form with only the identification information and with "vacation" written in the comment section of the database.

Lunar Phases

Calendar PageMoon Phases
Week #1 March 4-10, 2012 Full Moon
Week #2 March 11-17, 2012 Full Moon to Last Quarter
Week #3 March 18-24, 2012 New Moon
Week #4 March 25-31, 2012 New Moon to First Quarter
Week #5 April 1-7, 2012 Full Moon
Week #6 April 8-14, 2012 Full Moon to Last Quarter
Week #7 April 15-21, 2012 New Moon
Week #8 April 22-28, 2012 New Moon to First Quarter

Entering data by week number poses a problem in getting the "exact" lunar phase. During a typical seven day period the moon actually passes from one "major" phase (new, first quarter, etc.) to another with "minor" phases (waxing crescent, waning gibbous, etc.) occurring in between. To simplify this process and to keep some sense of consistency we have looked at a lunar phase chart and have set the phases that you should report when entering your data. We could not program our database software for an "auto-fill" field so you will have to bear with the entry process for this. Please consult the above referenced table for the phase to enter for each week depending on the date for your collected data.
Road Classifications

Rural Road - 35 mph or less
Rural Highway - 35 to 55 mph
Suburban Road - 35 mph or less
Suburban Highway - 35 to 55 mph
Urban Road - 35 mph or less
Urban Highway - 35 to 55 mph
Interstate Highway - 55 mph or more

We tried to include all types of roadways with this general menu option but obviously there will be some of you that are monitoring types of roads that may not exactly fit one of these categories. You should select the closest possible description from the list and use that as your classification. It is important not to mix collected data between two different road classifications. If you are monitoring more than one classification of roadway you should make separate data submittals to the RoadKill database.

Miles Monitored

Here you indicate the number of miles monitored for each group data set.

RoadKill by Species

Here you enter of number of roadkill for each "roadent". You do not need to enter anything for animals that are on the database list that you have not recorded in your monitoring period. If you identify a "roadent" not on the list, please enter its name and number observed in the comment section of the data base.

The term U.R.P. means Unidentified Road Pizza, a term that means simply that there was a creature on the road but too many vehicles hit this hapless victim and made it hard to identify. You will find a field for URP on the list so please use this classification for those unrecognizable victims.
We are also interested in other comments such as weather, road conditions that are not listed under "Road Classifications" or other conditions that you think might prove useful to those doing research with your data.

Subscribe to the RoadKill Message Board - All messages that are posted to the message board can be received via your primary email account. This is a good way to stay current with postings. To subscribe to the message board all you have to do is go to the board, and fill in the menu on the left sidepanel of menus under "Follow RoadKill '12". This will give you the option of signing up. You can also unsubscribe from the message board at any time. You should note however, that you must be at the message board to reply to any messages.



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Last updated: February 20, 2012

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