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Repeating Mistakes?

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John DiDiego John DiDiego 10 Points

In Science And Children, 'What's so phenomenal about Animals?', I was reminded of one of the inadequacies of my own education that we seem to keep repeating.  Animals ARE phenomenal - every one with almost unbelieveable adaptations and characteristics...and I applaud the general idea of this lesson.  But, when we use these exotic and unfamiliar animals, the 'phenomenon' is not really something we can see, touch, and experience, but instead, a distant unusual example that may as well be it really something kids can connect to? Can they make the leap from that to the roly polys in the school yard?  Or the spiders on the windowsill?  

I guess I wish we could just use the plants and animals that in familiar and in our own environments.  They are just as amazing and varied and WAY more accessible.  And it gives kids the ability to continue to investigate during recess, or on their own.  That way kids get the benefits of growing more familiar with their own space and the 'neighbors' they walk by every day.  And they may even be able to experience wonder and amazement at the diversity right in their worlds.  

I am not down on this type of lesson, but I do wonder if by using it, we accidentally create separation between kids and their own environment...with an unspoken message that, realy interesting things exist and live far away, but the things close by are not.  

Something to ponder!  Thanks for all you do!


Jessica Thomas Jessica Thomas 320 Points

I agree with you! When kids can see what's phenomenal in their own community, there's a much stronger sense of commitment to the lessons. They come into school and say, 'Hey on my ride home I saw _____ and it made me think of what we were talking about yesterday.' And sometimes they're making the right connections and sometimes they got the wrong idea, but they're still thinking about science long after sitting in class. It's a win! I used to teach at a rural school. We were talking about camouflage one day and a student said, 'Wait, is this why the chicken hawks always get our white chickens?' Yeah, that's exactly why! You got it!

Things grow and survive everywhere, we just need to remind students that they see it every day. If we want to shift from that into more 'exotic' environments, at least we've given students a jumping-off point. As another example, we live in the desert; some students need to be taught that some plants have to have adaptations to live where there is too much rain, just like ours thrive on such a small amount. Sometimes you have to help make that bridge, then they can start building on it.

Hannah Salaiz Hannah Salaiz 1430 Points


I completely agree with you. I think it is much more meaningful and equally as engaging to learn about plants and animals in our own environments. Although students find exotic animals interesting, I think lessons about local plants and animals would be more effective. Students can better connect to the material and inevitably learn more from them.

Hannah Salaiz

Ander Miller Ander Miller 60 Points

I agree with you 

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