There is a great deal that can be learned in the animal and plant world if a someone takes the time to look around them.
For the third grade students at Parkview Elementary, making observations and documenting them were a large part of a recent science project for the class.
“The assignment we gave the students was to research a Missouri animal,” third grade teacher Andrea Young said. “They had to find information about the animal’s habitat, diet and any other interesting facts they could discover about the animal.
“Then they had to take all of that information, write a report, and create a three-dimensional habitat box for their animal,” Young added. “Whatever they wrote about in their report had to be included in their box.”
While most of the research and writing of their reports was done in class, the students were asked to work on the habitat boxes at home.
The boxes had to contain a depiction of the animal, bird or reptile the student chose along with an accurate representation of the plants, water supply for the species, food chain and shelter for the animal.
“It really had to show the complete habitat for the animal,” Young said. “We started the project toward the end of October and the last few days they have been presenting their reports and displaying the habitat boxes for the classes to see.”
Josie Peck, a student in Young’s class, chose coyotes for her project.
“I can hear them a lot outside when I am in my room at night,” Peck said. “I can hear them even though they are far away.
“I’m really not afraid of the coyotes,” Peck added. “My sister is though.”
Jonah Miller was not afraid of his animal to study either, even though he did learn one fact about them that he did not know before.
“I researched the copperhead snake,” Miller said. “They can kill a child or any person with their venom, and I didn’t realize that before.
“I think it is interesting how the copperhead eats mice, and the hawks eat the snakes,” Miller added. “Even though the snakes can hide in the bushes and the mountains, the hawks can still see them.”
Christopher Boehm learned a great deal while researching the eagle, but he also used his creativity to complete his project.
“I used all kinds of things in my box besides just making things out of paper,” Boehm said. “I made a lot of things out of Playdoh and even thought to use Goldfish crackers to show one of the things (fish) that eagles like to eat.
“They can get to the fish and other food with their beak,” Boehm said. “Their beaks are sharper than a knife and over two-inches long.”
Boehm was like many of the students who said their projects have helped to make them more observant of the world around them.
“I look at other birds and animals a lot more closely than I did before,” Boehm said.
The project is one the teachers find stay with the students as well.
“It really becomes a meaningful learning project that the kids really like to do,” third grade teacher Laura Peck said. “I saw one of my former students who will graduate this year, she told me that she still had her box from when she was in my class and that she was going to sit it on her table at her graduation party all these years later.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484