1st Grade Fieldwork: A Trip to the Reptile House

Here's my blog post for break - first grade fieldwork. Hope you had a great break and see you tomorrow!!! 

The week before December break, first grade herpetologists traveled to the Detroit Zoo to do fieldwork. We had completed our first case study on corn snakes (with the help of the lovely Elsa and the equally lovely Elsa 2.0), and this fieldwork helped to kick off the next case study: Snakes Around the World! Using herpetologist journals, our young scientists observed and studied all kinds of snakes in the Reptile House. They took notes on the behaviors, physical features, and habitats of snakes that interested them. They will use what they learned to choose one snake to study in detail. It was so meaningful for them to be able to see all kinds of snakes firsthand – I love watching the excitement and authenticity that students experience with Expeditionary Learning!

One highlight of this visit for many students was watching a python constrict a mouse. This wasn’t a new concept for them; we’ve seen videos of constriction, acted it out with our bodies, read about this behavior, and even played “constrict the prey” at recess.  Seeing such a large snake constrict a mouse in real life was such a memorable experience for them. (As a queasy adult, though, I have to say I’m happy I missed it.) These authentic experiences really bring their learning to life.