White Tiger Lesson Plan
This white tiger lesson plan focuses on the plight of the white tiger as an exploited, permanently imprisoned mutation of the tiger. An emphasis is placed on the habitat, lifestyle, and survival mechanisms of the tiger in the wild in contrast with white tigers in captivity.
The lesson plan is constructed in consideration of Florida state teaching standards (2017) and is divided into three learning levels: Kindergarten/1st grade, 2nd/3rd grade, & 4th/5th grade. The lesson for each learning level includes a reading assignment, quiz, math worksheet, geography worksheet, coloring sheet, and a vocabulary activity. Additionally, a poster is provided for each learning level to assist in the teacher’s presentation of the subject matter and to guide students in the reading process. The guides included in the plan for each learning level include main lesson points, activity answer keys, and a list of objectives met by each activity.
Lesson plan by learning level:
- Kindergarten & 1st grade Lesson & Teacher’s Guide, Educational Poster
- 2nd & 3rd grade Lesson & Teacher’s Guide, Educational Poster
- 4th & 5th grade Lesson & Teacher’s Guide, Educational Poster
Info for educators on the subject matter of the lesson plan:
A. White tigers are not an endangered species.
It is a common misconception that white tigers are their own species of tiger. White tigers are the same species of cat as the [orange] tiger, but carry a double recessive gene (found in 1 out of 10,000 tigers) that makes them white. The condition that this gene yields is called leucism. Since the gene that causes leucism is so rare, white tigers are often a result of inbreeding.
The statement that white tigers are bred for conservation is invalid. There is no conservation purpose in breeding an animal who can not survive in the wild and who is not its own species.
B. White tigers are not found in the wild.
No white tigers have been found in the wild since 1958. If a tiger were to produce a white cub in the wild, she would most likely kill him/her since a white tiger can’t camouflage (and, therefore, can’t survive).
C. White tigers are all born with health problems.
Every white tiger is cross-eyed to an extent because the optic nerve is wired to the wrong side of the brain. Most white tigers suffer from additional health problems such as facial deformities, immune deficiencies, clubbed feet, spinal problems, abnormal cranial structure development, cleft palate, mental impairments, compromised lung development, kidney abnormalities, declined fertility, early death, and stillbirths.
Because of the guarantee that a white tiger will be born with some sort of health defect, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) has banned the breeding of white tigers.
D. White tigers are not albino.
Since white tigers still have pigmentation in their stripes and eyes, they are not considered albino.
E. Tigers are an endangered species.
Approximately 3,890 tigers remain in the wild. Their main threats include habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and climate change. They live in Asia.
F. Tigers are mass-bred for cub petting operations.
Tigers are forced to breed in order to make cubs for the public to play with. Wild tigers breed once every 2-3 years. However, cub petting facilities make their tigers breed much more frequently since cubs can only be legally used for public interaction until a certain age or weight, depending on state restrictions. There is no tracking of what happens to those cubs once they exceed this age/weight restriction, and they are often thrown to unaccredited roadside zoos or are discarded.
G. Throwaway tigers
1 in 30 of “pure” white tigers will consistently perform. The others are disposed of.
Big Cat Rescue “White Tigers” page
Video on cub petting (all learning levels)
Video on white tigers (4th/5th grade) NOTE: Mentions inbreeding at 2:00
Discussion of endangered species & habitats (all learning levels) NOTE: Does not directly mention the tiger
Discussion of camouflage (all learning levels)