Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Our Pet Projects: What Living Things Need

Our caring project for the local pet shelter let to an interest in different kinds of pets so I had the kids draw all the animals they could think of that could be pets.  Many had some interesting ideas of what could be a pet!

This lead to the discussion about the difference between a wild animal and a pet. We created this Venn Diagram to show what we learned. I thought this was going to be pretty cut and dry, but they really dug deep in their thinking!  Because of the discussions and debates, it took us two days to create this diagram!

Once we figured out what could be a pet, the kids picked a pet to become an expert in.  We had experts in cats, dogs, guinea pigs, bunnies, turtles, snakes, and parrots. The focus of each expert group was to figure out what their pet needed to survive, be happy and healthy and create a habitat to show this.  The idea for these habitat projects came from the amazing Ms. Rogers and Ms West at Their pet inquiry was amazing! Teacher friends, these teachers from Dayton are inspiring! Check their blog out!  This covered our science standard of what living things need to survive. Along with this we learned the difference between a living and non living things based on what living things need.  Figuring out what their pet needed to be happy covered our social studies standard of knowing the different between needs and wants.  Their pet might want a toy to be happy, but does not need it to survive.

Our pet expert teams got to work!  First they made a web map as they became familiar with their pet through background knowledge, books and videos.

After looking at the needs section that showed what they need to be healthy and happy, they gathered materials and started creating their projects.  Their amazing teamwork showed me how far they had come this year!  If a problem came up, after a little initial frustration, they problem solved and figured it out with out my help! Here are some pictures showing them working on their projects.

While some were working on their projects, other kids were creating pet habitats in our building areas and pet art in our art studio!

The kid's parents emailed me pictures of their pets and then they got to tell us all about their pets and how they take care of it.

We got a class pet also!  How could we do a pet inquiry without our own pet? I would do anything to have a guinea pig, bunny or tortoise for a class pet. So many science standards would be covered through that experience.  Unfortunately we are not allowed. Maybe someday....Meanwhile, I got them a fish. They came up with a list (which they turned into a poem) of what our fish will need to be happy and healthy. Pardon the awful handwriting.  I was writing quickly!

He looked like Rainbow Fish and I thought for sure that is what they would name him, but they picked...Steven!

Since they knew he couldn't have a friend in the tank with him (because he would kill it) one friend made him a friend for when we are gone!

I set up and opportunity for them to look closer at him and record what they noticed.

I brought my pet Russian Tortoise in for them to play with!  His name is also Steven, believe it or not!  My son named him when he was 7! He loves coming in to play with the kids and is very active with them!

The predicted what his favorite food was!  It ended up being the green bean with the apple being a close second.

They created mazes and playgrounds for him to play in.

They created sculptures of him.

They created observational drawings of him.

Wrote him love notes.

They also just enjoyed his company.

We also got a visit from one of our friends little pet guinea pigs!

Finally, the projects were finished.
A dog habitat

A bunny habitat

A turtle habitat

A snake habitat

A cat habitat

A guinea pig habitat

A parrot habitat
The kids decided to do a presentation so they wrote books about their pet and practiced a speaking part for the presentation.  They presented to two classes and then to their parents.  This is where the true pride of their accomplishments happens.  You could tell just by looking at them how proud they were of their projects and presentation.  This was their first presentation so it was a really big deal for them.  It was hard work, but in the end, totally worth it for all of us!

After the presentation the parents mingled, took pictures, looked closer at the projects, listened to their child read their pet book, and had a snack with us.

Since this school year is almost finished, this was our end of year celebration and it was such a great time together!  I am going to miss these little friends and their wonderful families!  But I'm going to try not to think about that until the last day and just enjoy every last moment with them.

1 comment:

  1. Be still my beating heart!!! What a wonderful exploration for your students :) Thank you so much for sharing!