On Friday my class took a virtual trip to the Galápagos Islands. Students learned about a new place in the world and the animals found there, as I reminisced on a fabulous trip and shared what I learned from traveling there.
We are gearing up the start of our big animal adaptations unit in science. In class, each student selected an animal to research from places I have traveled to around the world. Over the years, I have gathered resources for students to use for research. Books, websites, brochures, pictures, videos and stories of the animals and the places they live all help students collect information they need for projects they will create.
The focus on Friday was the Galápagos Islands. I have a handful of students that chose animals from there. Even though not all students are researching animals from the Galápagos, sharing pictures and videos was a great opportunity to introduce students to a new place in the world and practice identifying animal adaptations and their habitats.
Students watched videos about marine iguanas, frigate birds, crabs and even a shark (which now of course I can’t remember which kind). We had great discussions about what the habitat is like for these animals and the adaptations these animals have made in order to survive.
Lava rock and sandy beaches make up the islands we visited. Students pointed out animals using camouflage and how that would help protect them from predators. They were eager to listen and take notes, and one student who started research on marine iguanas piped up to share facts he has learned so far. It was great to see students interested and excited to learn about new animals and a new place.
To wrap up our “trip” to the Galápagos next week I will share pictures and facts about lava lizards, land iguanas, Galápagos Tortoises, Galápagos penguins, sea lions and Darwin’s famous finches. Then it will be time to depart from the Galápagos and take off for the Amazon Rainforest!
Sharing my pictures (above and others), videos and stories from my travels is one of my favorite things to do in teaching. It combines all my favorite things and exposes students to worlds beyond their own. Teaching from what you have experienced is much more meaningful than teaching from a book. Not only does it expand my own background knowledge of a topic, it enriches discussion and helps me make a connection to students that I otherwise would not be able to do. Personal experience is the perfect supplement to text books and required reading.
Teachers, do you teach about animal adaptations, or habitats? If so what are some of your favorite resources to use?