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Amazing animals

Jessica Petau’s full-day kindergarten class gave their farewells to Raptor, Rosabella, Jack, Lollipop, Kate and Timberwolf. One of the released butterflies rested on a nearby rock (below).

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Timber Trail Elementary

Timber Trail Elementary (TTE) kindergarten students transformed into animal experts this spring. They were entomologists, paleontologists, mammologists and marine biologists. Each year the TTE animal unit has been a fun and special unit for all of the kindergarten classes. Week after week, the students studied and learned about insects, reptiles, mammals and ocean animals. Each day was a new adventure with lions, monkeys, giraffes and elephants. The students enjoyed learning characteristics of the animals and all cool fun facts such as: the platypus is the only mammal that lays eggs, and hippos cannot swim.

What made this unit special is that it exposed the students to math, reading and writing. The blended subject areas made this science unit more meaningful to each of the students. Additional reading and writing exercises not only helped these young students understand the characteristics of the different animals and habitats, but it also created a passion to learn about several different species. Insects were the first studied. As spring came closer, the signs of spring showed promise of fluttering butterflies. Watching the butterflies morph into life was a favorite for all students.

TTE kindergarten students made paper mammal hats in honor of their animal unit.

The kindergarten students began their school days visiting their classroom caterpillars, excited to see the changes they may have made overnight. Using their butterfly journals students logged the butterfly life cycle first hand. While the students waited for the adult butterflies to be released, they applied math and magic to create beautiful symmetrical butterflies that lined the school halls showing fellow students that spring had sprung.

TTE kindergarten teacher Jessica Petau said it was wonderful for the students to watch the butterfly life cycle in real time. Jennifer Aster’s class loved the butterfly unit and was thrilled to see their painted lady butterflies Lizzy, Pete, Snowflake, Jake and Peyton released. This lesson was authentic and provided a real world learning experience for all of these young students.



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