Wild about Animals

Hey Everyone,

We had a fun week at Forest School exploring the wonderful and intricate world of Animals.  And we were SURROUNDED by them this week.  A hare one morning, a groundhog, lots of squirrels, our resident chipmunk and even a bat that literally hung out on the school house all day. Oh and of course we were inundated with birds!  We saw dozens of different types and listened attentively to all their songs – it’s getting us really excited for next week’s Bird focus.  In prep for this we set up some big feeders to draw them in and made our own smaller Easter Egg bird feeders to put in our sit spots.

After some exploratory play and our morning routines, we took some extended time at our sit spots.  These spots are really coming together – check out the pictures below for a sample of the cool shelters and creations our kids are making.  The students are really becoming stewards of their areas and adding their own flare.

Back to the subject of the day: Animals.  In the past, we’ve worked a lot with animals – tracking, identification, adaptations, fish, birds, insects and more – and we wanted to build on this knowledge.  So we tested our knowledge on animals tracks and found out that we could use a little refresher!  We took a first hand look at Aden’s paws and followed some tracks laid down by some local fauna.  Afterwards, we really wanted to emphasize an understanding of the needs of animals and what better way than with a game of Survival?  Students were herbivores, omnivores and carnivores and became part of the food chain.  The only goal? To survive!!

Later on we built on this with a couple lessons on carrying capacity and limiting factors.  As part of our lesson, chairs slowly started disappearing so students had to share, until ultimately there was not enough space (and thus we figured out our “Classroom Carrying Capacity”).  Then we went outside and became deer fighting for resources.  We graphed the results over a “15 year” period (yay math!) and drew out conclusions from our findings.  We took this one step further by making predictions and looking at real world applications (ie 7 year hare/lynx cycle).

On Thursday we had an impromptu Easter Egg hunt when we came across an abandoned Mallard nest with an egg.  Although this is unfortunate, we learned a good lesson in avoiding wildlife (some of our LNT principles). Since we know it has been abandoned for a while, we are going to see if it we can hatch it under a light.

All in all, a real fun day.  Congrats to our bead recipients: 2 fire beads, litterless-lunch beads and 5 fire keeper beads.

Next week:
BIRDS!! This is always a fun day and the property has an incredible amount of our avian friends right now.  If you’ve got binoculars, please bring them!

Have a great long weekend and see you next week!

The Forest School Team
(Matt, Krista and Kim)

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