Activities and Lesson Plans


You may print Turtle Hurdles children's pages from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine. We hope you'll consider a subscription to our magazine. Be sure to check out the Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine special offer for teachers. And please let us know your suggestions for future issues at:

Suggested Topics: adaptations, classification, habitat, migration, myths.

Related 4th Grade TEKS:

Language Arts:
4.1 A, B, C: Listening, Speaking, Purposes: Listens Actively and Purposefully in a Variety of Settings
4.13 C,D,G: Reading, Inquiry, Research: Inquires and Conducts Research Using a Variety of Sources
4.15 C: Writing, Purposes: Writes for Variety of Audiences and Purposes in Various Forms
Social studies:
4.9 A, C: Geography: Humans Adapt to and Modify their Environment
4.23 C, E: Social Studies Skills: Communicates in Written, Oral and Visual Forms
4.24 A: Social Studies Skills: Problem Solving and Decision Making
4.1 A, B: Scientific Processes: Conducts Field and Laboratory Investigations
4.2 A, B, C, D, E: Scientific Processes: Develops Abilities to do Scientific Inquiry in Field and Laboratory
4.3 D: Scientific Processes: Uses Critical Thinking and Scientific Problem Solving to Make Informed Decisions
4.5 B: Science Concepts: Parts Removed from Complex Systems
4.8 B: Science Concepts: Adaptations Increase Survival
4.10 B: Science Concepts: Past Events Affect Present and Future Events
4.3 A: Number, Operations and Quantitative Reasoning : Addition and Subtraction
4.13 C: Probability and Statistics : Solve Problems by Collecting, Organizing, Displaying and Interpreting Data
4.15 A: Underlying Processes and Mathematical Tools : Communicates about Math
4.16 A: Underlying Processes and Mathematical Tools : Uses Logical Reasoning

Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever seen a turtle outside? Where did you see it? What did it look like?
  • Turtles are reptiles. What characteristics makes them a reptile?
  • Why are the red-eared sliders sitting in the sun?
  • The article describes three different groups of turtles based on where they live. What are they?
  • Which sea turtle is the smallest and most rare?
  • How did the "leatherback" get its name?
  • Which turtles have flippers for feet? Why is this an advantage?
  • Describe a turtle's shell. Do you think a turtle can crawl out of its shell? Why or why not?
  • Describe the inherited trait of the alligator snapping turtle that helps it catch its prey.
  • After reading the magazine, describe why you think the author titled it "Turtle Hurdles."
  • What can you do to help turtles?


  • Compare and contrast the turtles featured in the magazine. Make a chart to help with the comparison.
  • Have students chose an episode of Tortuga Tex to describe a Texas aquatic habitat or species.
  • Have students make presentations about one of the species of turtles based on an interesting characteristic. See if the students can group the turtles by whether they are sea turtles, freshwater turtles or terrestrial turtles. Have students use one of the vocabulary words in their report. For more advanced readers, use the TPWD species fact sheets as sources for their research. For students doing research on sea turtles, National Geographic has an excellent illustration at:
  • Color a Texas tortoise
  • Learn about sea turtle migration.
  • Have students identify turtles used in media and myth. What characteristics of turtles does the story use? character use? (for starters, use: Crush in the movie Finding Nemo; Franklin on Nick Jr.'s Noggin; The Tortoise and the Hare; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
  • Make a turtle craft. Do a search on the web for many ideas.

Project WILD

Interesting Links for Further Research

Turtle as swimming machine illustration:

Restoration efforts for sea turtles:

Threats to sea turtles:

Sea turtles in Texas

Girl scouts help find, measure tracked turtles in S Carolina

Texas Kemp's ridley in the news

Rules and identification of Texas Turtles