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Elementary Science

Class Pet

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Jessica Arrigo Jessica Arrigo 700 Points

Any suggestions for animals that make good class pets?

Elizabeth Llanas Elizabeth Llanas 645 Points

Depending on the age of the students, the class pet that you choose (or have chosen) can definitely vary. We have goldfish in our first grade classroom, but I do not recommend them as they require a lot of attention. However, one of the first grade teachers does have an iguana and a tank with a filter that the children absolutely love and no doubt your students will too!

Ashley Banegas Ashley Banegas 2910 Points

Hello Jessica, Based off of my previous experiences from my classrooms from elementary, middle, and high school, I have noted that the most common type of class pet has been fish and gerbils. In my own opinion, I believe that fishes could made good class pets since they are quiet, require one part of the classroom, and require little feeding. These fishes can keep a quiet atmosphere where they are still tend to regularly. I believe with the majority of movement coming from the students and the teacher, these animals can be kept in a secure spot in one room of the class where they will be taken care of from there. Having a classroom pet is a good idea because students can contribute tending the animals by providing materials and assistance, encouraging responsibility between the students and the teacher inside of the classroom.

Angela Ayala Angela Ayala 1295 Points

I definately agree that age/grade could depend on the class pet you choose, in a 3rd grade classroom at the school I student teach, the class has a toad. I have gone in to visit that class and they are fascinated by the big toad.

Justine Buzon Justine Buzon 895 Points

We currently have a Beta fish in our classroom! The kids love having it because it gives them responsibility; when they're going to feed it, how to clean the tank, etc. Its great!

Ryan Murray Ryan Murray 20 Points

There are a lot of different questions you'll need to consider along side a type of animal for a class pet, such as possible allergies that students may have to the type of animal, nocturnal vs diurnal animal, dietary and exercise for the animal, capabilities and responsibilities of the students care and/or handling of the animal. My children have had rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and mice.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 89208 Points

Hi Jessica, Those of us who have had animals in the classroom, could share a lot of stories - most good. There are some things one needs to always consider on the safety side, however. I like Dr. Ken Roy's article, "Scope on Safety: Animals in the Classroom", Science Scope, Feb. 2011: http://learningcenter.nsta.org/resource/default.aspx?id=10.2505%2f4%2fss11_034_06_92 He reminds us of the state laws and regulations that we need to know about in order to make the experiences for the students enjoyable and safe. I have brought to class a cockatiel, garter snake, frogs, hermit crabs, tropical fish, turtles, etc. My students loved observing them and caring for them. Best, Carolyn

Sabrina Castro Sabrina Castro 4185 Points

I think tortoise's are good class pets, we have one at my learning center! :)

Sara Gerke Sara Gerke 770 Points

I agree turtles make great class pets. I have three and they not only are very low maintenance, but they also can be picked up and held easily without the fear of them biting one of your students. 

Nicholas Morrow Nicholas Morrow 825 Points

I would recommend that you touch base with the students' parents, just to be safe for potential allergies.

Cielo Sanchez Cielo Sanchez 835 Points

Betta fish are good pets! 

Skyler Shaffer Skyler Shaffer 525 Points

I think underwater aquatic frogs are great andcan even provide a way to observe the life cycle of a frog. But I do agree it is important to check for allergies and with parents.

Jorge Armenta Jorge Armenta 780 Points

What about an iguana?

Kaycie Willingham Kaycie Willingham 925 Points

I think hamsters, a betta fish, and caterpillars  are good class pets.

Laura Cameron Laura Cameron 185 Points

I have had great success with Hermit Crabs in my classroom.  The only problem is that they like to have a more humid climate than our classroom allows, so this meant that we had many trips get water from the fountain.   We also had a Betta fish in a large, tall pickle jar.  I taped off three sections of the jar to identify the top layer, center section, and lower layer.  Next to the tank, I left a piece of chart paper so that as the children passed my, they could put a tally mark in the section Blueberry (the betta) was in.  Then we took the tally marks and counted them up to figure out what part of the jar Blueberry hung out at the most.  We continued to chart this much longer than I was figuring, because the kids really enjoyed this activity.

Allyson Jones Allyson Jones 1090 Points

We had a Mexican milk snake in my classroom once. The majority of the students enjoyed it, but some thought it was gross because it ate mice. I think a fish is probably the easiest and safest way to go especially if you're teaching the younger grade levels.

Beatriz Ulloa Beatriz Ulloa 3435 Points

I would say a fish, they are very easy to care for and there is no problem when leaving them alone for a long weekend. The tanks are pretty easy to clean and they are not expensive. If you want to go for a more active animal, I would say to talk to the parents first. In my science class in middle school we had many class pets. We had two beta fish, two guinea pigs, a hamster, and at one point a spider. Honestly I enjoyed have all those class pets, at the end of school year my teacher let me keep one of he betta fish.

Jaida Bennett Jaida Bennett 3730 Points

I used to have a guinea pig as a class pet. I think they were really cute pets that offered a lot of learning opportunities...especially when we found out both our guineas were a boy and a girl, not two females. That was quite the surprise when she gave birth during a class and we stopped to watch as we coached the guinea pig to breathe! LOL 

Lesley Jackson Lesley Jackson 1905 Points

I have had a guinea pig - its better if you can get a young pig so they can get used to being handled and the classroom environment.  I think an aquarium is a good choice, too. 

Muneeza Dhukka Muneeza Dhukka 755 Points

I remember one of my classes having a pet hamster.. I also agree with other about maybe having a guinea pig. The "Fluffy" stories would be great to use! My class doesn't have a pet right now but my students definitely love all of the Fluffy books!

Hannah Johnston Hannah Johnston 755 Points

My class has a hamster, and they love it! It's nice because we can put her in her ball and let her run around during reading time, but she's small enough that she's not in the way in her cage. A different student takes her home every weekend. 

Isabella Pousada Isabella Pousada 3025 Points

Hello! I think a bunny rabbit or hamster can be a great class pet.  The science teacher of my field school has about 15 animals in her classroom.  She lets the bunny around the classroom during the day.  The kids love the bunny and it is great exposure for kids!

Kimberly Dempsey Kimberly Dempsey 870 Points

Turtles or hamsters make great class pets! I had a hamster in my class and we had so many lesson planned around him. We would collect data on his activity (sleeping, eating, running the wheel, etc) and then we create a chart showing his active times. We also learned about animal life cycles, and the class hamster was used as an example. These are just a few examples of lesson that can be used with a pet. I hope this helps!

Myca Miller Myca 750 Points

I am currently student teaching and my cooperating teacher has a bearded dragon in her classroom.  I personally do not take care of him, but she has explained to be that he is very low-maintenance and does not require food on a daily basis.  

Amy Woodeshick Amy Woodeshick 695 Points

Hi! Having a class pet is a great idea especially if you have the time and space to do it in your classroom. It really just depends on the size of your classroom and what will the school allow you to have. I think having a smaller animal is ideal and students will enjoy looking at it everyday when they come into the classroom. One of my elementary school teachers had a fish in her classroom and I loved seeing it everyday. Examples of some great class pets would be fish, guinea pig, rabbit, turtle, and hamster. 

Hannah Endicott Hannah Endicott 565 Points

At my school campus we have had a bearded dragon. They kids have enjoyed him a lot and I believe we received a grant in order to obtain him. 

Kayla Adair Kayla Adair 680 Points

When I was in elementary school we had hermit crabs. I know they seem to die easily, but as I remember they were great. We had two in a portable cage. There would be certain weeks or days that people in the class got to take the crabs home. Then we would write about our experiences with the crabs. It was really fun.

Claire Prejean Claire Prejean 760 Points

I remember that in 5th grade we had a pet hairless rat. Each weekend a student was able to take her home and we LOVED it! We all learned a bit about caring for a living creature and the class bonded over caring for her.

Krystal Brea Krystal Brea 4080 Points

Hello, before bringing in any class pet you should of course check for any allergies. Once you have the all clear, I would say guinea pigs are good class pets because of their minimal care requirements. They're also very social animals and enjoy daily interactions. Fish are also good class pets, but they aren't as hands-on as other pets may be. Keeping fish in the classroom is intriguing for young children and can help teach responsibility if you allow them to help with the feeding or water changes. The care and maintenance for fish is also very simple.

Daniella Tangherlini Daniella Tangherlini 2445 Points

Hello, After you ensure all the students are free from allergies from possible pets you can select, i would go to the pet store and try and get some recommendations from them . I think fish would be the best class pet because the students can see and interact with them without risking hurting themselves or the animals. Students can learn a lot from aquariums! Hope this helps!!

Yadiana Santos Yadiana Santos 560 Points

Fish sound like a good idea, although unlikely popular belief they do demand a lot of attention. You want to make sure they have enough room to swim and you are feeding them the right food. Whatever choice you make you want to do a lot of research to make sure you offer them the right environment and if you are having students help with their care, it should be older ones who know what they are doing. We used to have small chicks in one of our classes, but they were very noisy. Rabbits can also be good to have since they do not make a lot of noise, and they are supposed;y very social animals. But will likely be more expensive to look after them.

Hello! When I was in Elementary we had a classroom pet, which was a hamster. It was well taken care of, not much to do but give him food and refill his water. Each week the teacher had someone give him food and refill the water. It was exciting! Also for days off someone was allowed to take the hamster home, but she stopped that. I don't think that was such a good idea. But hamsters are friendly small animals that would be great in the classroom.

Angelyn Lazo Angelyn Lazo 4195 Points

Hello! I think a hamster would be a great option as a class pet ! I had one in Elementary School and we would allow it to walk around in a hamster ball when we would have down time in class! it was a fun opportunity to take care of something and gain responsibility. Hope you decide what pet you want soon!

Kathryn Bennett Kathryn Bennett 1150 Points

I run the Science Lab at my school (grades K-4) and have all the on-campus animals. In the lab, we have two red-eared sliders, a russian tortoise, a rabbit, and a chinchilla. All of them except the chinchilla are very friendly. Our beautiful cockatiel and leopard gecko passed away this year, but I am planning on getting another reptile and bird in our lab again, because it really helps when we are studying Biology for the younger students to already be familiar with all the categories possible before we start studying them, so I can remind them of features of the animals we already have. That being said, this works well for me because all the students get to see all these animals as they come through my lab and the animals aren't a distraction during their regular class time. Some considerations you might make while choosing an animal is how often you want students to be able to interact with the animal. For example, hamsters and chinchillas are technically nocturnal, so they won't be very active while the students are with you. Also, you want to consider how much work you'll have to put into caring for the animal. My lowest-maintenance pet is the russian tortoise. My final piece of advice is that it might be easiest when you are starting out to do a temporary animal: borrow one from another classroom to see how your kiddos do with it or have a living life-cycle demonstration like growing butterflies from caterpillars or hatching eggs in an incubator, so that if it turns out not to be something your class can handle, at least there is a definite end-date in sight!

Ivana Hom Ivana Hom 20 Points

A class gecko might be fun! I know of a 7th grade science teacher who keeps a class gecko in the classroom. The students often take out the gecko and hold it while they are completing busy work or taking a test. I find that it calms a lot of them down. Plus, the gecko is really friendly relatively low maintenance.

Ashley Castillo Ashley Castillo 390 Points

When selecting a class pet you need to take into account that some students may have allergies. I only say this because I actually have a ton of allergies myself. But I remember classes where we had our own butterfly garden and that was really cool. I also think a Axolotl might be really cool. It's a type of salamander and because it is so different it will give students an opportunity to learn about a new animal.

Stephanie Guevara Stephanie Guevara 480 Points

The type of class pet can vary due to the students age and responsibility. For Kindergarten, a Goldfish would be ideal since they are low maintenance, and all the students have to do is feed them. It's important to take that into consideration so the students aren't harming the animal if they feed them too much or too little. Class pets are always a great idea, but knowing the ability the students will have to take care of it is very important!

Maria Perez Maria Perez 900 Points

Hello Jessica! We currently have goldfish at the school that I am currenly Student Teaching at, and the students love them! We have the fish tank in our first grade hall and the students love to stop and look at them when they pass by.

Dominique Whitaker Dominique Whitaker 920 Points

I'm student teaching and the science teacher has a lizard. The kids like it and it is very low maintenance.

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