We have finished our study of vertebrates and are now in the process of comparing these animals. We wanted to give the children yet another concrete experience with the animals so we invited our friend Paul to come for a visit with his animals! (Yes, he has a tree frog in his hand.) Paul is the prefect blend of fact and humor and it is at the right level! Many children knew answers and were excited to share their knowledge of the vertebrates! The only type Paul did not bring along was the fish- we have two in the classroom anyway.
We learned the tree frog uses suction on his or her feet to stick to things. They can hold you! Also, the skin was not wet as it appears. Some children knew amphibians start in the water and once they develop lungs, may move to land. This was our lone amphibian, the children were thrilled!
A pair of doves (Mr. and Mrs. Dove) came out to see us. The children were thrilled to see both of them and touch the soft feathers. We talked about the charactistics of birds and most children were able to recall that they laid eggs and had feathers! When put away, we could hear Mr. Dove cooing to Mrs. Dove and then what seemed like a giggle. The children liked to listen for these noises throughout the presentation!
The Blue Tongued Skink was amazing and was one of two reptiles to visit. One child immediately knew what it was (as we had made our reptile book and this was one of the creatures...) and proceeded to tell us a little about it! It was great to see this knowledge carry over! We learned the Skink uses his tongue to smell and can go about 6-7 steps before stopping to take a break. Many children talked about camoflauge and how it protects itself from predators. The children were amused to feel the Skink and learn it feels like a corn cob!
The other reptile to visit us was the Corn Snake. This snake is from Florida and hangs off of corn stalks, waiting for mice! The children remembered snakes lay eggs and have scales but not like fish! We made snake bracelets and one teacher let the snake wrap around her neck!
Speaking of mice, we had one visit. The children remembered this was a mammal but also pointed out to Paul that HE was a mammal too!
We played a trick on a teacher and said we didn't know where the mouse went! This child thought it was quite funny!
Paul then let the children hold a bunch of seven day old mice! They could not stop laughing! We learned that in three more days, these mice will open their eyes. When they are 18 days old, they no longer need "mice milk" and at 30 days they can have their own babies! Whew!
The other mammal was a Chinchilla. This creature was SO soft! There is nothing quite like it which explains why it is endangered! The Chinchillas live in the Andes mountains in South America. All of the children touched this little guy, it was quite irresistable!
We had a wonderful morning! Having these animals visit helped the children to understand the different types of vertebrates. Paul also reminded them to never touch an animal in the wild or even one you don't know (such as someone else's cat or dog). A big THANK YOU to Paul!