Free Materials For Teachers
Image©2018 ABS Madagascar Adventures Cover
Madagascar Adventures Cover

Have you ever wanted to visit a planet orbiting a distant star? You’d know you were far, far, FAR from home when every plant and animal you saw was new and strange to you. We can’t really travel to extrasolar planets, but we can do the next best thing: go to Madagascar!

There are more unique plants and animals in Madagascar than anywhere else on this planet. Now you can explore it from the comfort of your computer with the Madagascar Adventures activity set.

These adventures are based on photos and videos I took on a trip to Madagascar in 2011, plus photos and videos taken by others on similar trips. Madagascar is almost 1,000 miles long and includes many different ecoregions, each with its own unique plants and animals. I’ve combined some of the multitude of regions into four very different areas for four adventures, then added a special night adventure to look for nocturnal animals.

Image©2018 ABS Madagascar map with ecoregions marked and buttons along the left and right leading to adventures.
Map And Menu Buttons

Classroom Suite and Web Browser Versions

At this time Madagascar Adventures can be downloaded formatted for IntelliTools Classroom Suite®. Alternately, enjoy the adventures on computer, phone, or tablet, including iPad®, as an Annie’s Online Book or as an Annie’s Desktop Book (opens in a web browser). I hope to later add other formats.

The Classroom Suite version has custom IntelliKeys® overlays attached, and there are Dynavox® package versions of the overlays to run the activities from Dynavox AAC devices. See the Special Needs Access section on the System Reqs page for information on controlling the Classroom Suite version activities from PRC devices.

Image©2018 ABS Description
Dry Forest Journal Photos

Madagascar Adventures is very exciting online, with the many videos of unique animals adding interest. However, if your internet connection has low bandwidth, you may prefer the Desktop version, which has the same content as the online version, but needs no internet connection. Everything loads faster!

New with this activity set: Online and Desktop versions are supported by comprehension tests and journals in PDF format that can be completed onscreen using Acrobat Reader® or Preview®. The Annotate option makes it possible to type into the open PDF and save a student’s work.

All versions include authentic ambient sounds, animal calls, and short videos, many of rare and unusual animals you’ll never see in a zoo. The adventures can be read without running movies if desired, but videos give students a chance to see animals moving in the unique landscapes of Madagascar. These activities feel like a real trip to an amazingly exotic place.

Image©2018 ABS Cover of the PDF format journal for Spiny Forest Adventure
Spiny Forest PDF Journal

About The Vocabulary

Although I’ve kept the content simple enough for students in grades 2-7, there is a great deal of new vocabulary. Many of the new words are plant and animal names. In the Classroom Suite version, this is supported by a glossary toolbar students can access at any point in the five adventures and also later as they write their follow-up journals. In the adventures, the glossary words and definitions read aloud.

The Online and Desktop versions also have a pop-up glossary available from each page while going through the adventures. Each word has a short definition and a sound button to speak the word aloud. For journal writing, students reading the online version can use the stand-alone glossary described below.

Closing the glossary returns the student to the current page of the adventure. For off-computer vocabulary practice, download and print a set of vocabulary cards with all the words illustrated.

Image©2018 ABS Diagram of how to launch the stand alone Glossary
Launch The Stand Alone Glossary

Stand-Alone Glossary
I’ve also set up a stand-alone version of the glossary to support the Online and Desktop versions, written in html to run in a web browser with no internet connection needed. To run it, just locate BEGINglossary.html in the glossary folder and open it in your web browser.

The stand-alone glossary includes all the words and their definitions, plus sound buttons to speak each vocabulary word. You might decide to use this stand-alone glossary even if you are running the Classroom Suite version, because the pronunciation of some words is better than what you’ll hear using the system voice. The stand-alone glossary folder is titled Madagascar Words, and it is one part of the extensive Teacher Materials download.

Image©2018 ABS Description
Spiny Forest Journal Photos

Background Info And MANY Other Resources For Teachers

I have employed many simplifications in the content, avoiding the scientific names of plants and animals and sometimes using less specific names. For example, there are fifteen species of mouse lemurs, each with its own common name, but in the adventures I just call them mouse lemurs. Students don’t need to be burdened with all those names to memorize when the point is to learn that lemurs come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.

Image©2018 ABS Description
Island Journal Photos

However, I know that teachers who present these activities want to be aware of the full and accurate version of all this information. That’s why I’ve included an Overview and a separate PDF on Madagascar Flora And Fauna in the extensive Teacher Materials folder.

Be sure to download this folder, which includes important stuff such as the stand-alone glossary, story scripts, and comprehension test answers! You’ll also find range maps for the various types of lemurs and a large printable Madagascar map with the main ecological regions marked in the Teacher Materials download.

If you don’t have time to look at everything, be sure to go through the Overview, which concludes with a bunch of links to more information. These include both links to specific videos featuring some of the rare animals you meet in the adventures and links to a selection of websites. Some websites I included are only focused on Madagascar, but several of them, such as, have wonderful FREE teaching materials on all life science topics.

Image©2018 ABS Description
ARKive Movie Tip

Technical Notes
Sounds will play in iPad®, but not automatically. You must touch the Play Sound button. Some of the videos in the Classroom Suite and Desktop versions were downloaded from I’m not allowed to alter or shorten these, so feel free to close them early if they seem too long.

I’ve linked directly to these same movies on the ARKive site in the online version. You’ll be asked to allow Adobe Flash® to play, and it will want you to have the latest version. After the first query, it won’t bother you about Flash again in that session. Flash won’t run on iPad, so use the Desktop version instead to see these movies.

You also may see a notice about cookies and a fund raising plea (at least I did in December) on these ARKive videos, the first time you go through the online version. Once you click the X and the Got It! buttons, these interruptions should disappear on that particular computer.

A Whirlwind Tour Of Madagascar Adventures

The Main Menu
Madagascar Adventures is structured for free-form exploration. From a central hub aboard a ship, students begin five different explorations, in whatever order they choose. However, I believe they will have the best experience if they save the night adventure for last. This is a huge study unit, somewhat like Oregon Trail©, and should be spread over at least five different sessions, probably several more. While there is no actual end page, there is a stopping point at the end of each adventure.

Image©2018 ABS Description
Rest In Your Cabin

It’s easy to jump back into exploring by starting from the map on the ship, which also serves as the menu. Buttons along the left and right edges of the map lead to the five separate adventures, and a sixth button leads the weary traveler through the ship to a cabin with a big, comfortable bed.

I’ve tried to give students as realistic an experience as possible on each adventure. The surroundings are so different that each exploration requires different strategies and tools, and depends on different senses.

Image©2018 ABS Madagascar Golden Orb spider spins gold silk for its web.
Silk Spider In The Dry Forest

The Dry Forest
The dry deciduous forests of Madagascar include many plants and animals used by people in some way, so I’ve focused on these uses for this adventure. Since it’s open and dry, students see lovely panoramas as they walk along. The lowland forest has distinct dry and rainy seasons, and at times brush fires run through these areas.

Students learn about the fire-resistant tapia trees, a small flowering plant that contains a cure for leukemia, giant spiders that spin webs of silk, several types of lemurs, and much more. Most of this adventure takes place in Isalo National Park.

Image©2018 ABS Radiate tortoise from the Spiny Forest Adventure
Spiny Forest Tortoise

The Spiny Forest
In this desert or near desert area, with its weird and prickly plant life, the proportion of endemic plants seems to be even higher than the 80% which is the average for Madagascar. Nowhere is more uniquely Madagascar! There are several types of lemurs, a flying fox, a striped mongoose, and huge tortoises. The spiny forest has amazing animals, but also offers panoramic views of the very strange plant life.

Baobabs, pachypodiums, and euphorbias create a landscape where not one plant looks familiar, and the earth is an improbable bright red. You may think you’ve been abducted by aliens, until you see the dancing lemurs! Then you know you’re in Madagascar. In this adventure the focus is on the adaptations, many of them startling to our eyes, that both plants and animals have made to live in this very dry area.

Image©2018 ABS Page from Island Encounter showing ground nest of a red-tailed tropicbird
Red-Tailed Tropicbird

Island Encounter
This adventure offers snorkeling, a short boat ride, and also a hike to look at red-tailed tropicbirds, an endangered species that nests on the ground on the tiny island of Nosy Ve.

Small as it is, the island has an amazing number of birds and sea animals, including sea urchins, lesser crested terns, and the endangered red-tailed tropicbirds. Hitching a ride back to the ship in the pirogue of a local fisherman is a special treat.

Pirogues in this area have sails and outriggers, and many have hollowed out logs for hulls. Sails are patched with whatever is available—I saw pieces cut from old shirts—and the masts, spars, and outriggers are usually made of debarked tree limbs. The fishermen are justly proud of their boats, which sail swiftly and steadily and take them in safety surprisingly far out into the sea.

Image©2018 ABS Panther chameleon from Wet Forest Adventure
Wet Forest Chameleon

The Wet Forest
I’ve combined wet tropical forests with true rainforest in this adventure. Students must peer through thick foliage and use binoculars (a button) to see animals in the wet forest. Often students hear animal sounds before they see the animals moving overhead. They meet a family of sifakas who are nervous because they hear the lemurs’ most feared predator, a fossa.

They get to see a chameleon shoot out its long tongue to catch an insect. They will hear the eerie cry of the indri (the largest variety of lemur), which reminds me of whale songs. They also learn to look very carefully to find camouflaged creatures right next to them. The focus in the wet forest is numerous animals, the abundance of life, and the many ways to hide in plain sight.

Image©2018 ABS Red tomato frog from Night Walk adventure
Night Walk Tomato Frog

Night Walk
The night walk challenges students to use their ears and a flashlight to locate animals. In most cases, this means there is a dark page with a sound, and then the lighted animal appears when the student clicks the flashlight (torch) button. I’ve also included many videos in this adventure.

Students encounter a parade of nocturnal mammals including dwarf and mouse lemurs, a tuft-tailed rat, the aye-aye, a civet, and the very odd little streaked tenrec. They also meet animals in the reptile, amphibian, and arachnid families. It’s amazing how busy the forest can be at night!

Back To The Ship
Each adventure ends with a return to the ship. When students are ready to stop for the day, they can click a button to go to their cabin on the ship. There they see a beautiful sunset over the ocean, and can plan their next adventure. This part is just for fun, and I hope it will make the entire project feel more real. There is something magical about going to sleep on a ship and waking up with a totally different landscape right out your window!

Supporting Materials

Image©2018 ABS Description
Comprehension Test

Tests And Journals
No exploration is complete without keeping a journal, and students should have a lot to say about each of the adventures. They write five separate journals, because each adventure introduces many new plants and animals.

In the Classroom Suite version, students choose from a palette of fifteen photos. You can easily adapt the journals for fewer pages if desired. For the Online and Desktop versions, there are PDF format journals to write in, either by typing onscreen or writing off computer into printed copies. These include the same photos as the Classroom Suite journals. Instructions for how to write the journals in Acrobat Reader® or Preview® are included in the download.

There are also comprehension tests for all versions, multiple choice answers and photo illustrations. The Classroom Suite downloads have the adventures in one file and a separate zip file for the journals and tests. The PDF versions of the tests are in the same zip file as the PDF journals.

Image©2018 ABS Page from the Vocabulary Cards PDF document
Illustrated Vocab Cards

Vocabulary Cards
About 90 words are illustrated in the vocabulary cards, which can be downloaded as a single PDF file. Cards for three words fit on each page, with a small illustration followed by the word in large type.

To prepare these cards, print them out on U. S. letter size paper (preferably card stock or similar stiff paper) in landscape orientation, and then cut apart the three strips on each page.

The vocabulary cards could be used for matching and memory games as well as simple drills, and you would probably cut apart the pictures and words for these uses. Some of these words would only be used with this activity set, but quite a few (predator, adapted, beach, evaporation, etc.) may come up in other life science study units.

Image©2018 ABS Gold badge used to mark the completion of all five adventures.
Master Badge

Progress Badges
Since Madagascar Adventures is a longer study unit than usual, I felt that students ought to be rewarded each time they finish one of the adventures. Included in the Teachers Materials folder is a set of progress badges in two sizes.

The larger set could actually be worn as badges, or kept as awards. The smaller set is for students to attach to a special copy of the Madagascar map that has a space for each badge. These smaller badges could also be added to the cover of printed-out journals.

Image©2018 ABS Description
Coquerel's Sifaka Printed Puzzle

I sort of got out of control on the puzzles, but is there really a way to have too many? There are 21 puzzles to work online, some from each adventure, most with 20 or 24 pieces.

There were so many that I have put that set of links last, at the foot of this page. There also are printed versions of the same puzzles to download as a PDF file, print, cut apart and mount for off computer use. Each online puzzle description includes a Preview button as well as a download link, and you can use those same buttons for a sneak peek at the pictures of the printed puzzles.

In case you want still more puzzles, I’ve written a tip on how to quickly make an online puzzle and a printable layout of the same puzzle. See my post on Quick Printable (And Online) Puzzles. Here’s one way to use the photo collection!

Image©2018 ABS Map of Madagascar with spaces to attach badges to mark completed adventures
Progress Map

Bonuses: Photo Collection, Video Scrapbooks, Panorama movies

I’ve put together a collection of my own photos to download, some from each adventure, but of course I can’t distribute any of the photos by other photographers. To make up for that, I’ve included a few photos that do not appear in Madagascar Adventures, including several of baobab trees and one of a boy driving a zebu cart. You can preview the collection in Annie’s Resource Attic Gallery. Click here to go to the Gallery, which opens in a separate tab. Then return to this page to download the photo collection. Note: Sources of all photos by other photographers are listed in the Credits, so that you can locate them and download your own copies.

Video Scrapbooks
One of the options on the ARKive website is to set up “scrapbooks”, sets of videos or photos relating to one topic. I’ve put together many more videos than those in the adventures, so be sure and take a look. If you get hooked on lemurs, a common side effect, there is also a scrapbook of videos about the types of lemurs you meet in Lots Of Lemurs, a book from my previous Madagascar Lemurs activity set. The links to both scrapbooks are among those at the foot of this page.

Image©2018 ABS Screenshot of Madagascar Video Scrapbook on ARKive web site.
Video Scrapbook Picture Links

Madagascar Panoramas
The third bonus is something of an experiment. There were some amazing Madagascar panorama movies on the Ecolibrary site, in QTVR format. You can click and drag to turn the view around and look up and down, and zoom in and out with Shift and Control keys. When they open, they play a soundtrack of ambient sounds for each location.

I’ve downloaded their Madagascar panoramas, including the Spiny Forest at night and several different jungle scenes, and bundled them as a bonus download here. They may be used for educational purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

The catch is that support for QuickTime movies has recently been withdrawn from web browsers, so these panoramas don’t work online anymore. I think these downloaded panoramas will still run on your desktop, but you need to have a legacy version of QuickTime.

I have included information and a link to where you can download the legacy QuickTime from the Apple site. So download these Madagascar panoramas and try them out. I hope they work for you, because they are magical. With the view tilted to gaze up the trunks of those tall, thin trees, I almost felt like I was back in Madagascar!

Applications needed: Acrobat Reader, IntelliTools Classroom Suite, modern web browser.
Subject area: Science, Ecology, Reading, Writing.
Level: Grades 2-7.

Online Links-Activities

Annie’s Books Online

Madagascar Adventures link: madagascar/adventureMad/index.html Madagascar Adventures books to read online. HTML5 format and updated movies and sounds run in modern browsers, including on phones and tablets. On iPad, you must click the Play Sound button. Users of pre-IE9 browsers will be seamlessly switched to the old version online, which uses QuickTime. For details on using Annie’s Books Online, click here.

Desktop version of Madagascar Adventures link: Madagascar Adventures books to read from the desktop using a web browser. HTML5 format and updated movies and sounds run in modern browsers, including on phones and tablets. On iPad, you must click the Play Sound button. Not for pre-IE9 browsers. For details on using Annie’s Desktop Books, click here.

Be sure to download the PDF format journals and tests to support the online and desktop books! Links are under Printable Activities below.

Stand-Alone Glossary

Stand-Alone Glossary download link: (4.7 MB) Glossary with all the vocabulary words from Madagascar Adventures and their definitions to run using any modern web browser. Click the speaker button or phonetic spelling of each word to hear it pronounced.

Online Puzzles  To jump down to links to 21 online puzzles, click here.


Instructions And Teacher Resources (22.1 MB) Tons of stuff including the Overview, Stand-Alone Glossary, Madagascar Flora and Fauna PDF, story scripts, comprehension test answer sheets, progress badges, large Madagascar map with ecological regions, lemur range maps, and much more. Acrobat Reader, text application, graphics application, web browser.

Printable Activities (51.8 MB) PDF format journals and tests for each of the five Madagascar Adventures. Type in the journals and tests onscreen using Acrobat Reader or Preview, or print these out and write in them off-computer. Instructions included on how to use these journals and tests on a computer.

MadagascarVocabCards.pdf (74.9 MB) Madagascar Vocabulary Cards to print and cut apart. Includes all the words in the glossary, with illustrations. Acrobat Reader.

madagascar/ (51.9 MB) Printable Jigsaw Puzzles in a convenient PDF booklet, ready to print, mount, and cut pieces apart. These 21 puzzles made from photos from Madagascar Adventures are off-computer versions of the online puzzles (see links below). Separate PDF picture index helps students quickly choose a puzzle! Acrobat Reader.

InstructionsPDFTestsJournals.pdf (1.8 MB) PDF Journal And Test Instructions to print. (These instructions are also included with the Madagascar Adventures PDF Tests and Journals download.) Acrobat Reader.

PDF Journal And Test Instructions online The PDF Journal And Test Instructions online, ready to present to groups.

Classroom Suite (318.6 MB) Madagascar Adventures activities for Classroom Suite v.3 or later. Custom IntelliKeys overlays are attached. Important: Because of the large file size, this activity set has been split into two parts. This zip file has all the adventures, but does not include tests and journals. Be sure to also download them from the following link! (131.3 MB) Madagascar Adventures comprehension tests and journals for Classroom Suite v.3 or later. Custom IntelliKeys overlays are attached. Important: Because of the large file size, this activity set has been split into two parts. This zip file has five comprehension tests and five journals, but does not include the actual adventures. Be sure to also download them from the preceding link! (12.8 MB) Madagascar Adventures overlays (for adventures, tests, and journals) saved as Dynavox package files. (3.9 MB) Text file with Madagascar vocabulary words separated by commas and ready to import into the Word Prediction dictionary in IntelliTools Classroom Suite®. Also includes instructions on how to import the word set and how to correct computer read out pronunciation.

Bonus Downloads And Links (78.1 MB) Madagascar photos by Ann Brundige. There are JPEG photos from all five adventures plus a few extra. To preview the collection, click here.

Madagascar Video Scrapbook link Click Here. Picture links to more videos of Madagascar animals on the Some extra videos from each adventure!

Lots More Lemurs Video Scrapbook link Click Here. Picture links to videos of many types of lemurs on the This group of links was originally set up to support the Madagascar Lemurs activity set. (50.7 MB) Panoramas of Madagascar wet forests and the spiny forest at night, in QuickTime VR format, downloaded from and licensed (CC BY-SA 2.0). Information is included on where to download a legacy version of QuickTime you will need to run these panoramas.

Online Puzzles

IndexMadagascarPuzzles.pdf (1.7 MB) Index to the 21 Madagascar puzzles, either online or printable, in PDF format. Has a picture for each puzzle and notes the number of pieces. Acrobat Reader.

Note: For details on using Annie’s Puzzles Online, click here.

Dry Forest Puzzles

Isalo National Park puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Isalo National Park 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a rocky cliff above a grassy area in Isalo National Park from Madagascar Adventures.

Spiny Iguana puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Spiny Iguana 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a brown spiny lizard from Madagascar Adventures.

Madagascar Silk Spider puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Madagascar Silk Spider 20 piece online puzzle. Image is a very big black and yellow spider hanging on its web from Madagascar Adventures.

Madagascar Scorpion puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Madagascar Scorpion 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a large scary scorpion from Madagascar Adventures.

Dwarf Chameleon puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Dwarf Chameleon 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a tiny dwarf chameleon from Madagascar Adventures.

Pachypodium puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Pachypodium 20 piece online puzzle. Image is a strange-looking pachypodium plant from Madagascar Adventures.

Spiny Forest Puzzles

Radiate Tortoise puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Radiate Tortoise 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a huge radiate tortoise from Madagascar Adventures.

Compass Tree Euphorbia puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Compass Tree Euphorbia 20 piece online puzzle. Image is tall stalks of a compass tree euphorbia from Madagascar Adventures.

Verreaux’s Sifaka In A Tree puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Verreaux’s Sifaka In A Tree 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a Verreaux’s Sifaka from Madagascar Adventures.

Verreaux’s Sifaka Closer puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Verreaux’s Sifaka Closer 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a Verreaux’s Sifaka peering down from a branch from Madagascar Adventures.

Ring-Tailed Lemur Lookout puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Ring-Tailed Lemur Lookout 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a ring-tailed lemur lounging on a branch and leaning against the trunk of a large tree from Madagascar Adventures.

Island Encounter Puzzles

Lesser Crested Terns puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Lesser Crested Terns 20 piece online puzzle. Image is a flock of lesser crested terns flying along the edge of a beach at the water’s edge from Madagascar Adventures.

Red Sea Urchin puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Red Sea Urchin 20 piece online puzzle. Image is dark red sea urchins on white sand among blades of sea grass from Madagascar Adventures.

Red-Tailed Tropicbird Chick puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Red-Tailed Tropicbird Chick 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a red-tailed tropicbird chick in a nest on the ground from Madagascar Adventures.

Wet Forest Puzzles

Alert Coquerel’s Sifaka puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Alert Coquerel’s Sifaka 20 piece online puzzle. Image is a close up of a Coquerel’s sifaka peering around a tree trunk from Madagascar Adventures.

Giant Millipede puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Giant Millipede 20 piece online puzzle. Image is a giant millipede on the forest floor from Madagascar Adventures.

Mama and Baby Sifakas Feeding puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Mama and Baby Sifakas Feeding 12 piece (difficult shape) online puzzle. Image is mother and baby Coquerel’s Sifakas feeding in trees from Madagascar Adventures.

Mama and Baby Sifakas Close Up puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Mama and Baby Sifakas Close Up 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a mother Coquerel’s Sifaka holding her baby from Madagascar Adventures.

Bamboo Lemur puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Eastern Grey Bamboo Lemur 20 piece online puzzle. Image is a gentle grey bamboo lemur feeding from Madagascar Adventures.

Night Walk Puzzles

Hubbard’s Sportif Lemur puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Hubbard’s Sportif Lemur 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a sleepy sportif lemur in a tree at dusk from Madagascar Adventures.

Tomato Frog puzzle link: CLICK HERE. Tomato Frog 24 piece online puzzle. Image is a big red tomato frog in a flashlight beam from Madagascar Adventures.

July 8th, 2018 at 8:36 pm


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