Published at Tuesday, February 06th 2018. by Inez Barr in Coloring Funs.
In recent years animal mind has become a topic of great interest. Are animals able to think and feel? Are animals intelligent? Can they apply insight to solve certain problems? Anyone with a pet at home will respond positively to these questions. Of course animals seem to understand our moods, they know what exactly is coming after possibly having read our facial/bodily expressions, and in many cases animals are able to solve problems, almost with insight. If a caged bird is able to move out of a cage on pressing a lever will that be considered an insightful or trial and error behavior? Animals are not able to talk in our human language and we do not understand animal language so there is a gap in communication and this may be a primary reason for which we are incapable of knowing whether animals have 'emotional experiences' and use insight to solve problems or whether everything to them is nothing but trail and error.
This means that animals simply follow a stimulus response pattern and instinctively show a trial and error behavioral pattern of actions rather than using their conscious mind to behave in a certain way. This is what Konrad Lorenz, a pioneering ethologist considered as 'fixed action patterns' or FAPs and it is believed that a few FAPs are caused by certain standard stimuli across the animal kingdom. Obviously if the mind is to the brain as the soul is to the body, the concept of mind itself would be problematic but although we cannot deny the human mind, we can in a way explain animal behavior without referring to the mind directly. How far would this position be appropriate?
Contrary to what most people think, animals do manifest interesting psychological traits. Considering available data and the fact that animal psychology is still in its developing phase, it would be premature to provide a blueprint for the animal 'mind', although many researchers have attempted to do that and there has been some success in the understanding of the animal mind through study of behavior and learning in animals. Of course, behaviorists would consider it absolutely unnecessary to talk of an animal 'mind' as according to them, learning and responses in animals could be explained completely with behavioral changes and association of different stimuli. Many psychologists believe animals simply show instinctual responses and their behavior does not have intentionality.
There is a famous study by David and Ann Premack who suggested that it is possible to teach human language to nonhuman apes. They worked with chimpanzees and a famous bonobo Kanzi to suggest that certain animals can also learn human language and can also spontaneously produce and recognize words. Some language learning has also been seen in birds like parrots but although parrots show rote learning by trial and error, chimpanzees and bonobos may just show some rudimentary form of intelligent behavior in their manipulation of language. Across the animal kingdom we have come across many cases and examples, when animals sulk or get depressed when they lose a mate or a young one, just like us humans. Animals also show very organized and complex mating behavior, highly developed learning behavior and even their social life seem to be based on survival strategies.
2. Create your own animal contest. Have the children color various animals in whatever way they like. If a child wants to color a monkey purple allow them to do so. Then cut up various parts of the colored images. Cut the body parts off of the animals and place them in a pile on a table. Then have the kids assemble animals out of the parts. The final product will be a remarkable and weird compilation. This exercise usually really gets the kids laughing as they create funny and weird animals.
3. Coloring environments for animals. The kids in your class are probably used to coloring animals but they might not be used to coloring the environments in which animals live. If you want to teach the kids something about animal habitats this is a great exercise. Split the class up into groups and have each group color a large panorama of a landscape. Place different landscapes and habitats in different parts of the room. Provide pictures to the students so that they have a general idea of the appropriate colors. Then cut out the animals the children have been drawing and attach them to the habitats. The finished product is an attractive image of a wildlife scene that can teach the children a great deal about their favorite animals. It will also help to teach them the importance of preserving habitat.