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The World's Smallest Monkey: Webquest on the Pygmy Marmoset

written by: Dawn Marcotte • edited by: Jonathan Wylie • updated: 11/11/2013

This webquest will have elementary students research the habitat, behavior and health of the pygmy marmoset. Their goal is to create a natural enclosure for these dwarf creatures at a zoo.

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    Introduce your grade school students to the world’s smallest monkey with this webquest. Students will investigate the habitat, diet, social Webquest behavior and health of the animals in order to design the perfect zoo enclosure. Students will need to understand how pygmy marmosets live in the wild in order to create a safe and stimulating environment in captivity.

    Pretend that the International Zoo Association is searching for a zoo to house a group of pygmy marmosets that have been displaced due to loss of natural habitat. Any zoo that is interested must submit their plan for the enclosure where the animals will live. The marmosets will be awarded to the zoo with the most natural enclosure that provides the animals a safe and stimulating place to live. The local zoo has asked your class to do the design work as they are known to be very interested in animals.

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    Divide the class into pairs or small groups to gather information on the pygmy marmoset. Each group must write two paragraphs on each of the following topics: habitat, diet, and social behavior. After gathering this information each group should design a habitat for a group of 4 pygmy marmosets. Students should detail the following about the enclosure:

    What type of terrain will it mimic?

    Will it be indoor, outdoor or a mixture of both?

    What will keep the animals from escaping?

    What plants should be included in the enclosure?

    What other structures should be included to stimulate them?

    What kind of housing will be provided?

    How will the animals be fed?

    What should they eat?

    Are there any special items to be included in the habitat such as warming lamps or toys?

    Students can draw a picture of the proposed enclosure or a model if time allows. They may find the following websites helpful: Animal Guide to Pygmy Marmosets.

    Primate Factsheet on Pygmy Marmosets.

    Pygmy Factsheets.

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    Students will be evaluated on a five-point scale.

    1. Students write less than two paragraphs for each topic. Zoo enclosure questions are not all answered.

    2. Students write less than two paragraphs for one or more topics. Zoo enclosure questions are all answered.

    3. Students write two paragraphs for all topics. Zoo enclosure questions are all answered in detail

    4. Students write at least two paragraphs for all topics and more for at least one topic. Zoo enclosure questions are all answered in detail.

    5. Students write at least three paragraphs for all topics. Zoo enclosure questions are all answered in detail.

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    When students finish this pygmy marmoset webquest they should have a much better appreciation of the needs and welfare for animals in captivity and for the specific needs of this tiny monkey breed.