By Elena Delavega
On April 1st, 2013 the Pink Palace Museum hosted 71 5th grade students and 3 teachers for a “Animal Adaptations” field trip consisting of special lab classes (in formal labs) and hall tours. And on April 29, 2013 we held our last field trip of the year, hosting 60 4th grade students and 5 teachers and chaperones.
The Kingsbury Elementary 4th and 5th grade students received the same field trip focusing on animal adaptations. The students learned about adaptations through presentations on Birds, Bats, and Bugs and a lab class focusing on sharks. As usual, the students were divided into two large groups upon arrival at the museum. Half the students marched downstairs, to the bowels of the museum, where they were further subdivided into two groups for their lab class. The students who remained upstairs were divided into three sub-groups and visited special stations in the permanent exhibits on birds, butterflies, and small mammals. After lunch, the large groups switched places. Every student had the opportunity to participate in every activity and learn about animal adaptations in many different ways.
In the lab, the students had the opportunity to touch real, albeit dead, sharks. They were surprised at the smell of the solution in which the dead sharks are preserved, but they learned about the different adaptations we can observe in sharks. Students ran their fingers all along the sharks, and noticed that sharks feel smooth from the nose to the tail, but feel rough from the tail to the nose. They learned that this is because sharks have tiny scales on their skin, and the way the scales are laid out helps sharks swim. The children also learned why sharks are dark on top and white on the bottom (this makes them invisible).
In the halls of the museum, the children learned about how different animals have resolved survival problems, such as bats being nocturnal, or butterflies using mimicry or camouflage to hide themselves from predators. The children understood that there are many ways to survive, and that the environment matters very much in defining effective strategies. As always, all presentations were very closely aligned to TCAP objectives. Our main goal was to help these students succeed in school.
The students learned about animal conservation, and the many ways in which science is involved with animals. MSW students participated with glee and demonstrated just how multi-talented and polifacetic social workers are. Lindsey O’Donnell Bailey, Jeanine Claiborne, Dena Gill, Olivia McMillan, Ashley J Mullen, Maggie Landry, Bridgette OgunMokun, Christy Phelps, Angela Powell, Joy Steorts, and Werner Viser closed the year with a bang, having provided a delightful year for Kingsbury Elementary children.