The grade 3 & 4 class at St. Peter Academy has been making the most of local resources to enhance their recent unit on animal adaptations and food webs. This project based unit of study has provided numerous opportunities for students to take the learning process outside of the classroom to make real world connections.
The unit began, as all great science modules do, with a Bill Nye video on animal adaptations. Bill Nye proved to be the perfect jumping off point as it peaked the students interest in the topic. The following class they did a bird beak adaptation experiment designed to have students discover the importance of adaptations through an engaging hands-on learning activity. In groups, students were given several bowls of food stuffs designed to represent a variety of different sources of energy for separate species of birds. In one bowl students had gummy worms in place of real worms, another had watered down honey as a stand in for nectar, and a third contained a mixture of seeds. Students were then given a pair of tweezers, chopsticks, and a straw to represent different types of bird beaks. Finally, in a set amount of time each group would test the efficiency of each beak type in relation to each source of food.
After a fun filled hour a few important facts became clear to the students: i. animals have different adaptations to increase their ability to survive in an ecosystem, and ii. it is impossible to pick up water with chopsticks.
In the following weeks, with the necessary background information in place, the students got to fully appreciate a field trip to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. While seeing preserved organisms in person was fun, the students’ excitement most certainly peaked with the visit of the self-proclaimed “Creature Teacher” and his fluffy animal friends.
This week marks the final project, where students create a food web for an ecosystem they have chosen to research. The results are sure to be spectacular, and we encourage all to swing by to check them out at our next open house!
St. Peter Academy in an independent, community-based private school and serves students from ages 15 months through grade 6. SPA is currently accepting applications for the limited spaces available in the year-round toddler program and for students in Pre-K, Kindergarten and grades 1-6. Appointments for individual tours can be made by contacting the Main Office at 617-268-0750 or by emailing SPA@StPeterAcademy.com. Join us!