Here in the Reno, Nevada, area have a fantastic resource for studying animals, namely Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary. I learned about Animal Ark in 1993 when I first taught in a classroom here. I had the good fortune of having a student in my class whose parents train big cats for the movies. They had donated some lions to Animal Ark, and at their suggestion I made my first of many visits and field trips to this fantastic facility.
Last year we took a field trip there as part of our study of animals and specifically animal adaptations. We took photos which you can see on our class Flickr page.
Years ago when I was teaching a 4-5-6 Image class we were returning from a trip to Animal Ark when a student suggested we visit their web page. I replied that they didn’t have a web page … and the students decided we should make one for them … which we did. It won several awards, but it died 2 years ago of neglect … and the fact that Animal Ark has long since developed their own web site. Then wikis came along and so we made an interactive wiki web site for them.
Each group of 3 or 4 students in my 4th grade class last year made three wiki pages (over 20 total pages) about the kinds of animals at Animal Ark. They searched the web for the best sites they could find about the animals they were assigned, looking specifically for information about adaptations, how they obtained food and so on … all per our science standards. They also had to pick sites that were easy to read for students their age and they had to rank them from what they felt was the very best site they found to the next best … you get the idea.
Once that was done we used our site ourselves in the way it was actually intended. We used the sites to learn about animal adaptations and survival and then had to design an animal to live in the Great Basin Desert of Nevada where we live. Students had to design each part of their animal from eyes to feet or wings or nose to survive the climate and conditions here. We shot video of the process – and now it is finally posted and linked from the wiki page.
Check out the wiki page project and the video.
Learning is messy!
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