This week, I am celebrating my very first preschool science unit on reptiles. You can share your celebrations over at Ruth Ayres website: Ruth Ayres Writes.
The idea came to me one day while we were visiting one of my son's favorite places, the Reptile Room at CD's Pet Emporium.
I had been trying to find authentic, meaningful opportunities to introduce science instruction to my four-year old when I walked right into one, literally :-)
This is the first of a series of blog posts detailing how I turned an everyday visit to our local pet store into an interdisciplinary learning opportunity. Over the course of a week, my son and I engaged in reading, writing, math, science, and art, all reptile related.
I began our unit on our most recent visit to the Reptile Room. As we walked around the cavernous quarters, I asked my son to tell me what was inside each habitat. Right there, we had the opportunity for an authentic mini-lesson on what the word habitat means. Rather than simply tell my son the definition, we were able to observe and discuss each reptile's habitat, making the learning more meaningful.
We talked about the differences in each habitat and why certain animals are better suited for certain environments. For example, Box Turtles live on land, so their habitat consisted of a mulch floor and wood land features, where they could roam around and climb into.
Whereas, the Aquatic Turtles live most of their lives in the water. For their habitat, the pet store has created a wonderful water feature with rocks and sticks, and a few Koi fish. Here's my son peeking over the edge to get a better look, until I caught him :-)
I am a huge animal lover, so I also discussed with my son the importance of providing the most natural habitat for these animals. We talked about how sad it is that they are in tanks; a sad fact, but a fact, nonetheless. I also told him they all would hopefully go to responsible, loving pet owners.
As we made our way from one end of the room to the other, I wrote down which reptiles he saw, so that we could use this data for the culminating activity of our reptiles unit. Before that, though, we had to conduct some additional research into the wonderful world of reptiles, so our next stop was the local library, but that's my next blog post.
Until then, I would like to leave you with some more pictures from our visit to the Reptile Room:
I hope you will check back later this week to see my next installment of our interdisciplinary Reptiles Unit. Have any thoughts or suggestions? Feel free to leave them as a comment below :-)