Lesson 4: Wrap Up and evaluation - pulling it all together

Now it's time to take everything you've learned this module and put it all together. Over the course of these lessons, you've researched what alligators need to be happy in their environment, regardless of when or where they are living. You've also examined evidence from a Pliocene-aged fossil site in Gray TN to learn why alligators are found in that fossil record, even though they don't live in that area today. You've also learned about species that weren't as lucky as the alligator or the slider turtle, and weren't able to migrate from, or adapt to, their changing habitat. Those species went extinct as the climate changed and habitats shifted.  

For this final lesson, you will imagine that you are the alligator that managed to move away from the changing Gray Fossil Site and have found a new home that meets your needs. Think about what your new habitat might look like, and then read the letter from Turtle below. Once you've read the letter, write your own letter back to Turtle to tell it all about your new home. Try to include as many details about the resources you've found in your new home that made it much more attractive than the changing habitat at Gray that you left behind. 

A Letter From Home

Artist's reconstruction of a slider turtle from the Gray Fossil Site, TN
We miss you! Love the Turtle family

Dear Alligator,

How are you doing in your new home? What's it like? We miss you back here in pond, well, former pond. Things in the old neighborhood just haven't been the same since the temperatures went way up, the sinkhole filled in, and everything dried out a bit. We really miss all the old gang who went to that giant sinkhole in the sky -  good old Mastodon, Rhino, Tapir, and Red Panda.

Please write back and let me and the family know where you ended up. We hope you have lots and lots of water to roll around in! We miss those fun games of chase you always played with us :-)

Love, Turtle.