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Archive of SEPGuides (5.1.2017): Elephant Trunk

Kit Description

6 Trunks

1 Crate per Trunk

The Elephant Trunk contains The Elephant Project curriculum and the supplementary resources to enrich The Elephant Project experience. This problem-based curriculum integrates Internet research, DNA analysis, and bioethical issues as students track down the origins of a piece of confiscated ivory. Students discover how modern biomolecular research tools can help conserve a species, in this case the African elephant.

SEP teachers and staff collaborated in developing this learning experience in 2000. Like most SEP kits, it offers a menu of options so that teachers can modify the materials and protocols to match their teaching situation. 

To learn more about the current status of African elephant populations and to understand the methods used by staff at the UW Center for Conservation Biology, use the links to current articles and web resources in the boxes below.


1) SEP Teachers must attend a training workshop to sign up for an Elephant Trunk.

2) The Elephant Trunk does NOT contain the DNA or the gel electrophoresis equipment necessary to teach The Elephant Project. SEP teachers should sign up for a Gel Electrophoresis kit or supplies in addition to an Elephant Trunk.

Background information on Sam Wasser

Conserving African Elephants

Roosevelt High School student Bonnie Henwood made this fantastic video, Conserving African Elephants, for the 2012 BioExpo.

Ivory Project Video

Meet explorer Trip Jennings and hear about his plan to help with Dr. Wasser's elephant research.

Additional Web Resources

The SEP Elephant Trunk curriculum is based on the groundbreaking work of the University of Washington's Dr. Sam Wasser. Here are several links concerning his conservation work.

Links to maps

Articles Relating to Conservation and Elephants

Useful Links

Web links to various sites concerning conservation.

Elephant Trunk Notebook Table of Contents

Table of Contents
You can either find the individual item you need under the document column and download the pdf, or download a pdf of the whole section.
Tab Document
Kit Inventory Complete List of Equipment and Materials Included
Elephant Trunk Inventory List
Introduction Letter From Teachers
Download entire Introduction Section The Elephant Project Overview
  User's Guide
  Activity Matrix
  Trunk Supplies and Inventory
  To The Teacher: Beginning Assumptions
Ivory Story Teacher's Guide: Who Dung It?
Download entire Ivory Story Section Student Version: Who Dung It?
  Alternative Scenario: Friend
Background Why is the Sale of Ivory Banned?
Download entire Background Section Uses for Ivory
  Scientist Biographies
  Ivory Tracking Abstract
  Elephant Information
Videos and Internet Research Wildlife Warriors: Teacher's guide
Download entire Video and
Web Research Section
An Animal's World - The African Elephant
  Sorting Out Sources
  Websearch: Teacher's Guide
  Websearch: Evidence for individual research table
  Websearch: Student Activity
  Web Quest Questions
Paper RFLP Activity Paper RFLP: Teacher's Guide
Download entire Paper RFLP Section Learning Assessment: Teacher's Guide
  Paper RFLP: Student Activity
  Elephant Paragraphs Part 1:
Explanation of activity
  Elephant Paragraphs Part2:
Activity paragraphs
  RFLPs and Polymorphisms: Student Activity
RFLP Lab - Teacher's Guide Analysis of DNA Laboratory
Download entire RFLP Lab Teacher's Guide Section Analysis of RFLP Data
  How to make Carolina Blu Gel
  1 KB Ladder for Elephant RFLP Analysis
  Key to Simulated DNA RFLP Sizes and Marker Sizes
  Comparison of 45 min and 60 min gels
  Comparison of Student and Comstock gels
  Political and Vegetation Maps of Africa
  Data Submission Form - KEY
  Identifying DNA Concept Questions - KEY
  Gel Electrophoresis Concept Questions - KEY
  Vocabulary List and Definitions
  Scenario Conclusion
Guided Classroom Discussion
RFLP Lab - Student Version Agarose Gel - Electrophoresis of DNA
Download entire RFLP Lab Student Version Section RFLP DNA Lab
  RFLP Data Analysis by Size Estimation
  RFLP Data Analysis by Semi-Log Plot
  Data Submission Form - Blank
  Identifying DNA Concept Questions - Blank
  Gel Electrophoresis Concept
Questions - Blank
  Vocabulary List - Blank
  Scenario Conclusion Questions
Bioethics Ethical Dilemmas - Teacher's Guide
Download entire Bioethics Section Quotes and Poems for Reflection
  Stakeholders List
  Ethics Chart
  Ethical Dilemmas
Whale Meat Whale Meat Assessment - Teacher's Guide
Download entire Whale Meat
Assessment Section
Whale Meat Assessment - Student
Sample Itineraries Thomas DeVries
These are sample itineraries provided
by the SEP teachers who developed
the Elephant Project.
Jennifer Duncan-Taylor
Download entire Itineraries Section Mike Fellows
  Tracy Stoops
  Sherry Stuber
Appendix I: Basic Skills Flow Charts
  Measure for Measure
  Electrophoresis Exploration

Amazing photographs of elephants and people working to protect them

Research articles


Who Dung It? (2002)

Who Dung It? is the original curriculum developed in 2002. The scenario starts at SEA-TAC Airport returning for HongKong. Someone close to you is being held by customs for an ivory piece found in their luggage. You have to find out if this ivory was illegally obtained.

ICCWC Agent Scenarios

These alternate scenarios were developed to address the current urgent context of elephant poaching. These scenarios emphasize the connection between illegal ivory and terrorist groups.