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Teaching about animal care

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Iris Par Iris Par 4015 Points

Hi i am a student in saint peters university studying to become a teacher. As a student, I have had one class pet. I know it is a affective way to teach students about animal care. However, will this work in a classroom now. There has to be a lot of considerations about it but it could help students know about what animals needs and what they do. Also what other kind of activity can help students know about animal care. 

Anne Lowry Anne Lowry 6790 Points

Pets in the classroom can be a great idea, but having had a variety of animals in and out of the classroom (sheep, rabbits, goats, fish, lizards, aquatic frogs), let me offer some logistics to consider. Some, I know are repeats. Please treat this as a living document and add to it!

Rules and regulations of your school / district

Alllergies of all involved: students, teachers, staff, families that might come in contact

Special habitat requirements: do they need heat 24/ 7, filters runnings, etc

Habitat maintenance: how often does the cleaning need to be done, and who is going to do it

Cost: who pays for the feed, habitat materials (bedding, replacement filters, etc). What about required shots and vet bills? Vet emergencies?

Breaks: who is either coming in to take care or who is taking the animals home. And how will the animal(s) be transported?

Closely related: imclement weather policies: if you have, let's say, rabbits outside, what do you do during extreme tempratures / bad air quality days?

Where is the animal going to go? What do you need to move / eliminate from your classroom to make room for the animal and all its belongings


I know that my tiny little classroom with a big window opted for 'adopting" the birds outside, putting up feeders, choosing plants birds we onserved liked, and essentially doing everything that we would do with a non-touchable pet indoors, with a lot less hassle


Hope this helps


(and yes, I just copied my posed from animals in the classroom; the two topics seemed very related) Happy Friday :) !

Hannah Powell Hannah Powell 635 Points

Having a class pet can add multiple benefits to the classroom and to the students. Research has shown the benefits of pets in the lives of children and their impacts on the students in the classroom. Animals can teach students responsibility by giving them each a role to contribute to help take care of the pet’s needs. The students feel important to have these roles and can potentially help with behavior issues in certain situations.
However, having a class pet can have its downfalls. You must think about who will take care of the pet over breaks, holidays, and weekends and such. Some alternatives could be maybe showing a video in the last 10 minutes of class each Friday about different animals and their needs. Or deciding to have class plants instead of pets. Plants do not require the attention pets do and also this could eliminate the stress of making sure it is okay all of the time. Having plants still allows the students to have that sense of responsibility.  

Vanessa Juarez Vanessa Juarez 285 Points

Hello Hannah,

I agree with you in the aspect of of classroom pets being beneficial, and a positive experience in the classroom. I feel that when dealing with a pet it shows us how to be more responsible and how to be more conscious about animals lives, and how we should respect every animal as it it a living/ breathing organism. It also gives the students a feeling of having an important role when being able to help out with the classroom pet. It is something to really think about though i feel like when considering having a classroom pet it should not be an idea taken lightly and when considering adding a class pet, maybe the teacher would have to take in consideration that she would have to be the pet owner, and is in it for the long run. 

Question- Do you think having plants in the classroom would be okay if there are students with alergies? 

Rosa Gonzalez Rosa Gonzalez 285 Points

Hello Hannah Powell,

It it's very intresting that you reserach the benefits of having a pet in the classroom for students. I also, read in an article that having pets in a classroom reduces stress. I have a two pets that make my life happier and to be honest i don not know what i would do with out them. I think that its a great idea of incorporating pets to a classroom like you said to teach them responsibility by giving them each a role to contribute to help take care of the pet's needs and we are also contributing to encourage people to treat anaimls with respet because there is a lot of people that do not care about aniamals life or feelings. 

Question- What can we do as future teachers to encourage pets in a classroom?



Jazmin De leon jazmin de leon 20 Points

Hello Hannah

I find it very interesting to incorporate animals in a classroom they are wonderful resources for teachers to make learning fun in all subjects. I feel that students will approach learning more enthusiastic and interest in these subjects. Even kids that don’t have any kind of exposure to animals in their home could get to experience it in a classroom and it’s been proven by experts that having an animal instills a sense of responsibility and respect for life. And also, the presence of animals tends to lessen tension in the classroom.



Question:  If we have classroom pets as teacher would I need to get the parents permission?

Nicole Anthony Nicole Anthony 692 Points

As a student also, I feel that having a class pet is a great teaching tool for the students to learn about the care of animals and responsibility as well. I come from a background in environmental education that involves animals that are used for education and students were able to see what different animals require. I feel like using reptiles in the classroom is a great way for students to be introduced to the types of animals they are not used to seeing. This also reduces allergens as they do not have fur. The students will feel a sense of responsibility and they will feel important in maintaining the livelihood of that animal.  

Tyler Stark Tyler Stark 465 Points

I am a middle school science teacher, and am looking to incorporate more pets in my classroom. I currently have a fishtank, and was thinking of getting some sort of reptile. Any suggestions on reptiles that are easy to care for, and students would enjoy. I really want something that the students can handle, since a lot of students come hang out with me during lunch.

Zach Millan Zach Millan 609 Points

I've found that having a class pet has been beneficial in catching student's attention on a lesson when I'm able to introduce the class pet in the lesson's context. For example, one lesson we had compared our skeletal anatomy to the class pet's anatomy (a ball python). In terms of care, I have also used this as an ongoing review for what living things need to survive and incorporated basic care/upkeep into lesson reviews many times (ex. changing the pet's bedding to prevent infections when introducing the immune system). As long as students are able to understand the responsibilities of a class pet, my students have seemed to benefit from a class pet.

Cora Gomoll cora gomoll 2210 Points

I think having a class pet can be helpful when teaching students about natural life and how to care for animals or other living things. some students may have allergies it might be best to have an aquatic animal or reptile as a class pet. this might also be ideal because they are less common pets so the students could interact with something they might not have seen before and probably don't have at home. I think that a class pet can be great to inccorperate into science lessons and bring the class to make connections on something they have all experienced. I think it would be cool to innccoperate safe animals in the classroom on special events as well. For example, if the students are learning about small mammals and a student has a pet that matches the content they could bring it to school for the class to learn from. 

Samantha Hyde Samantha Hyde 1850 Points

I'm also a future educator and enjoy your question. I thought back to when I was in school and my first grade teacher had hermit crabs in her classroom. Thinking about how much my teacher incorporated our class crabs really drove the students to engage in the lesson. I still till this day say she was one of my favorite teachers. I remember our teacher let us take the hermit crabs home for a "sleep over." I was a great idea and I really enjoyed being able to feel responsible for taking care of another animal. The down side to her letting students take home the hermit crabs was that they wouldn't always return and depending on the classroom that can cause teasing and other situtations that you can avoid. I think a classroom pet is a good idea but I would not let them children take them home. There is other benefits to having a class pet to like, reducing children aniexty and stress level. Be aware of students allergies because that may cause you to have to get rid of the animal so I personally would make a pros and cons list and look at it from both sides. When looking at your style of teaching and you think having a class pet woud benefit you I would go for it. 

Anna Rood Anna Rood 120 Points

Anne really nailed it with all the considerations she mentioned. I have thought about having a class pet in my classroom, but never really thought of the ideas that Anne stated. I think that students would get a great understanding of pet/animal care from having a pet in the classroom, but there are a lot more factors that come into play that make having a pet a lot more difficult than one would think. I know growing up I had short-term pets in the classroom. In first grade, we raised tadpoles into frogs. We each had a bowl that we watched over with a couple of partners. We recorded their growth and everything we did to care for the tadpoles. We also raised beetles. They started off as mealworms and by the end of the cycle, we had beetles that we set free outside. My understanding of class pets is that they do not have to be long-term, but they can be living things that students can care for and learn from. We know a rabbit, hamster, bird, etc. would be fun, but that is a lot of work and some schools may not allow that. Keep it simple and educational!! Students find anything intriguing that does not involve sitting at a desk with a worksheet. 

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