Invertebrates in the classroom

Children often do not think of invertebrates as animals. If we can train ourselves to talk about insects and other invertebrates not as “bugs” but as “small animals” we’ll help children make that connection. Visiting small animals, such as isopods (aka roly-polies or pill bugs) and slugs, allow observations to build into a body of knowledge.

Shrieks of delight let me know that a slug is on the move, and hearing excited consultation with the classroom’s confident “wrangler” tells me that the children have it under control.

Peggy

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One Comment

  1. Bernard J. Nebel
    Posted December 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    The way “animal” is used in everyday speaking, it is hardly surprising that kids have the notion that “animal” refers to just mammals, and other animals are what they are: insects, slugs, spiders, fish, etc. Therefore, there is a teaching opportunity here. With a previous lesson, I guide kids to observe that some form of energy is required to make anything “go” or change. Then, I have them extend this idea to the biological world by leading them to observe that living things can be divided into two major categories depending on where/how they obtain their source of energy. Thus, we derive the plant kingdom, those organisms that are able to capture light energy, and the animal kingdom, those organisms that have a mouth and depend on eating other biological matter for their nourishment. Subsequently, we see how the animal kingdom is divided into various subgroups (phyla) according to differences in basic body structure. In short, this makes a series of lessons that utilizes skills of observation, categorization, inquiry, and logical reasoning. Further, it leads systematically toward higher levels of learning. If you wish to see these lessons, you may find them under, “Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding” at Amazon.com/ I welcome your comments. Bernard J. Nebel, Ph.D. http://www.pressforlearning.com

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