SCHOOL: Barwell Elementary
GRADE LEVEL: 4th Grade
PROGRAM: Nature’s Niche
INSTRUCTOR: Craig Kwiatkowski
Scientist Craig’s Experience:
This week I had the pleasure of visiting Barwell Elementary School on Monday. It has been such a long time since I have visited the school, so I was very excited to be back and teach the fourth graders. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by several students and staff who were very curious about the moving objects in my bins. I got to my first classroom and heard several whispers and guesses as to what was inside my bins and what animals they might see. My reply, as always, is that surprises are always better.
We started the program discussing what animals need to survive and how they develop adaptations in order to better survive in their environments. We quickly got into our first experiment where the students acted and ate like birds to see which bird was better able to survive with the food available. The students found it very amusing when all the hummingbirds tried their best but unfortunately weren’t able to gather enough food and died off in the habitats. One student commented how she was glad it was only a simulation and that the hummingbirds would continue to live in North Carolina.
One of the most exciting parts of the program is bringing out all the live animals. I love watching the kids faces as I take out lizards, tarantulas, and frogs. Their curious and inquiring minds always ask the best and most creative questions. My favorite part is getting out the bearded dragon, an animal they get to pet, and tell them to be careful because it breathes fire. I don’t always fool them, but at least it gets a few laughs.
Lastly, the students get to test out their creativity and create an new animal that would be able to survive in the tundra. They have to figure out ways it can protect itself, eat, and stay warm in the harsh environment. Their creations are always so impressive and I enjoy hearing about the adaptations they come up with.
Until next time Barwell 4th graders! Enjoy your week!