Exploring animal habitats
In the third quarter of the year, the second graders at the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) researched animals and insects and their habitats. Along with their teacher, Akilah English, the students filled the classroom with floor-to-ceiling dioramas to represent the natural habitats of the grassland, the rainforest, the Arctic, and the forest. Each student created a picture book and smaller display to share the facts they had learned. On February 9, they invited parents, and teachers, staff, and students from other KDES grades to come to their classroom for student presentations, which were videotaped.
Some of the students chose land animals and insects, like wolves, lions, orangutans, giraffes, kangaroos, bear, and butterflies. Others chose sea mammals, like whales, dolphins, and penguins. Each student collected facts and photos, and made original drawings for their presentation book and displays showing what they had found out about the appearance, habits, and diet of their subject.
Each student explored how their animal lives in its natural habitat and found out if that habitat is threatened, and if so, why. One student, Samuel Bachoo, shared how orangutans from the rainforest, "will live if you don't shoot them." Some of the animals were endangered by loss of habitat due to human encroachment, which Alona Zfati pointed out happens to kangaroos who are killed on roads built through their living areas; Briana Sumes talked about wolves being killed for their fur. Other students learned how species survive because of the population being protected by government conservation or through programs at zoos around the world.