Using Satellites to Learn About Animals

Argos-4: An instrument hosted onboard the General Atomics’ Orbital Test Bed-3 satellite that tracks animals, buoys, ships, and floats around the world.

This collection of classroom activities and the Follow Me! comic book tell the stories of animals that are often hard to observe — animals that live in hard-to-reach places, travel long distances, or live underwater. Based on research projects that track animals with satellites, these activities illustrate how technology can help us learn about the natural world. 

These educational resources were developed at the UCAR Center for Science Education as an outreach effort of Argos, a system of instruments aboard satellites used to track tagged animals around the world and help understand other aspects of our planet.

Each activity below is available to download in English, French, and Spanish. Each downloadable PDF file contains a teacher guide, student pages, and other activity resources.


An illustration of an arctic fox.

Follow That Fox!

Grade level: Upper Elementary

Students use tracking data collected by Argos satellites to follow the longest known journey of an arctic fox. By learning about the life history of the arctic fox, students use data to hypothesize about animal behavior and write the story of the traveling fox.




An illustration of two blue whales.

Where Are the Whales?

Grade level: Upper Elementary

Students interpret maps and Argos satellite tracking data to locate where blue whales are found and make recommendations for how to help keep whales safe.





An illustration of two pronghorn with tracking collars.

Where the Pronghorn Roam

Grade level: Middle School

Students learn about tracking pronghorn, how their migration patterns are affected by changes in the landscape, and what can be done to ensure they have space to roam.




Photo of a plastic bottle fitted with a radio-transmitter, floating in the Ganges River.

The Plastic Path

Grade level: Middle School

Learn how far plastic pollution can travel in the ocean and waterways by analyzing data from a study that tracked plastic bottles with satellites.

The cover of the Follow Me! comic book

Follow Me! Comic Book

Stories about using satellites to track animals from space to discover exciting things like: how far arctic fox travel, what parts of the ocean have the most blue whales, what pronghorn avoid when they migrate, and more! 

Read the Follow Me! Comic Book

Argos Project Support and Collaborators

NOAA and CNES have been partners in the Argos data collection system since 1978. For NOAA’s latest contribution to the Argos system, NOAA has partnered with CNES to host their Argos-4 instrument aboard a commercial satellite. NOAA is working with USSF to utilize their hosted payload solutions contract and selected General Atomics and their Orbital Ted Bed-3 satellite to host the Argos-4 instrument.