The topic for this unit was Animal Tracking and the premise was simple… we go to our local park, look for animal signs and document what we find. To an outdoor enthusiast and naturalist this sounds fun and straight-forward. However, most of the students in our class had never been to the park, had no idea what animals lived in our area and had never heard of animal tracking before. Needless to say we had some legwork ahead of us.
To learn more about the wildlife in the park we had to go there but we needed to hone our observation and tracking skills first.
Through classroom activities and museum programming we studied bones, scat, tracks and artifacts of local animals. These classes engaged different students and allowed for a lot of story-telling and sharing of personal experiences. It also uncovered the artistic skills of many students whose drawings and attention to fine details were celebrated. The saying, “when you change the rules you change the winners” was very apparent during these classes.
Contributed by Allison Dietrich