Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Knightsville Elementary 2nd Graders

Over three days last week, the entire second grade from Knightsville Elementary school visited the Audubon Center at the Francis Beidler Forest. Students began their experience with an activity that focused on one of their science standards:

2-2.2 Classify animals (including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and insects) according to their physical characteristics.

Each student received an image of a plant or animal. Once every student had their image, the class was asked to group themselves as they saw fit. It was possible to group the class by predator/prey relationships, by color, by size, but the classes quickly arranged themselves in groups of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects and plants. As the base of each food chain and a critical component of the food web, plants were included.

Once the students had arranged themselves, they were asked, "What would happen if all the plants were removed?" (Animals that eat plants would die followed by animals that eat animals for survival.) They were asked, "What if we hate snakes and only remove the snakes?" (Animals that eat snakes might have smaller populations while animals that are eaten by snakes might have larger populations. Since some of the animals in the increasing populations eat plants, there would be fewer plants resulting in the situation posed in the first question.) The second graders had ALL the answers!

The image shows a Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) that was on a Dwarf Palmetto (Sabal minor) frond alongside the upland boardwalk as the students walked back to the nature center. This frog remained in the same position over the next four days. In fact, it may still be there.

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