It started out with a wild idea and 4 pieces of 2ft by 1ft wood. I was out to make learning about animals interesting for my Science students. My goal: to make learning interesting. I taught the same unit 2 years ago with other students and planned the unit using research projects as assignments for the animal classifications of reptiles, mammals, birds, insects, fish and amphibians. I soon came to despise the idea of grade 2 and 3 students having to do tedious research papers instead of something exciting and fun. Yes, they are informative but give a child a 2 inch book to go through to find information and you’ve got some discouraged kiddies on your hands. So I pondered for a couple days until a light bulb went on and my pen flew over my paper making plans for our next big adventure.
Before we started this mysterious project I planned a shopping trip to acquire the few supplies we would need to make this project a success. United Unlimited in Winnipeg and they had an amazing selection of small plastic animals… even if the place does smell funny. I bought some plastic greenery and rocks from Dollarama, made a batch of clay and off we were starting the next big adventure, one that will be talked about by its participants for weeks to come.
So last week on Friday I scheduled in an afternoon of fun for the scholars in my class room, hence the construction of the coolest animal habitats you have ever set eyes on were brought to life. Our goal was to make them look as realistic as possible and the outcome was astounding. I admit, I had my doubts about it and wanted to scrap the idea before we even began but I’m glad I didn’t.
We started out by mixing acrylic paint into the clay and off we went building a farm and forest for some mammals, birds and insects. My students worked hard to perfect the area that they were assigned to and feverishly toiled to make trees of out cut up toilet paper rolls, clay and plastic leaves. We made a stream running through the forest and out into an ocean for some fish and other sea animals. When we were done building the habitats we added the animals, plastic plants and let it dry during the weekend, eagerly awaiting Monday, anticipating all that was left to do and excited to give it another go.
On Monday we tackled the lake, swamp and jungle for reptiles and amphibians. Throughout the whole process the students stopped to admire their work, rightfully so, as they were doing an unbelievable job that surpassed any expectations that I had. We made trees with vines, a green-blue swamp, a lake and made a desert at the far end of our display. It was kind of hard to include all the habitats because a jungle can’t be right next to a desert so I had to make sure our approach was as realistic as possible.
Today we finally, got a start on the Arctic part of the habitats and it was probably the easiest to do seeing as we only had to make ice burgs, a partially frozen sea, mountains, waterfalls at the students request and thus completed our project. I’m impressed, to say the least. It was fun, educational and gave the students a chance to work together and be creative.
Our Next Big Adventure Complete: