Nature is surely inspiring! Organisms of all types build homes with the wide variety of natural materials they have available. Based on each organism's needs, a home looks different for everyone. Kindergartners will be looking at many kinds of animals and the homes that they create and inhabit!
Mammals create some of the most amazing habitats on all parts of the Earth's surface. They use all kinds of materials to make their homes--soil, twigs, branches, logs and leaves to name some! Whether its in a mountain, a tree, or on land, mammals find ways to stay warm and protected. We're learning about dens, tunnels, caves, lodges, nests and more!
Kindergartners are learning about all the ways that fish can protect themselves in their habitats. Besides hiding in rocks or in various tunnel-like structures, fish also partake in other survival strategies against predators.
Some of the strategies we discussed were where fish depend on other organisms for protection. For example, the clown fish hides in a sea anemone. Even though the sea anemone has stinging tentacles, the clown fish becomes immune to them and is then protected as a predator comes by. The mackerel also hangs out in the tentacles of the Portuguese man-of-war. Fish also sometimes offer up cleaning services to a fish that will protect it, like with the wrasse and the google-eye fish. And the most popular defense strategies are to swim in a school or use camouflage. Check out the students' models of these various protection strategies!
Last night I went to a science meeting at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. I couldn't resist taking pictures of some real bird nests that they have as a part of their collections. How amazing!
There are many types of birds, and they all share features in common. There are also some birds that have certain features that other birds do not. Despite their differences, each type of bird must protect itself from different predators either from above or below.
We've looked at many types of nests that birds can create. Birds use what they can find, whether it is straw, grass, spider webs, mud, or leaves. This means that each nest is unique. Every bird has a beak, which can be a useful structure to carry sticks, scoop up mud, poke holes in leaves, or sew "thread" through the materials they use to build their nests.
Kindergartners are spending time explaining the model habitats they designed for an amphibian. Each student had the opportunity to discuss what feature(s) they used to protect the amphibian from a predator.
Learning about the characteristics of amphibians in science, Kindergartners know that amphibians need both land and water to survive. They also know that they must protect themselves from predators, such as hedgehogs, herons, snakes, and sharp-toothed fish, which can attack from land or water. Using a wide variety of materials, students built model habitats to explain how an amphibian would grow and be protected in their habitats. Some solutions included walls, camouflaged areas, tents, bridges, and trees. Wow!
To gain an understanding of where Kindergartners are at in their knowledge of animal habitats, we completed a sort to see just how incredibly diverse animal habitats can be. We will be digging deeper into the structures each habitat has in order to provide protection from weather or protection again a predator.
Before we even begin our unit on all the types of homes out in nature, I ordered an ant colony to see ants in action. It is so neat! It's actually a similar habitat to what astronauts have brought into space for an experiment. The blue gel you see in the photos is not only a dwelling space to tunnel, but it also contains food and water for the ants. Check back often as I'll update new photos with their progress!