Animal Kingdoms! by Mr. Hartnell

Did you know we only have 2 more weeks left in our 3rd Quarter! It’s gone by so fast! As we cap off the second to last week of this quarter, I asked Mr. Hartnell to share about his class that falls into our STEM discipline, specifically in Life Science. 

If you remember, the students requested to learn more about animals, so we’ve focused one of their science classes on what THEY want to learn about: ANIMALS. Thus, our new class “Animal Kingdoms” was born, which the name changes every two weeks because we’re focusing on different regions of the world. These last two weeks of the 3rd quarter is focused on India! That’s why this class is called “Himalayan Excursions!” I hope you enjoy this update on the purpose of this class and what they’re learning through it.

 Students search for materials for their habitats. Students also observed why moss grew in shaded areas compared to sunny areas, why more areas had insects while others didn't. 

Students search for materials for their habitats. Students also observed why moss grew in shaded areas compared to sunny areas, why more areas had insects while others didn't. 

Animal Kingdoms has been an exciting time for students to explore different regions of the world and the animal habitats that exist within each. Starting in Africa, students explored the layers of the rainforest floor and the role sunlight, moisture and plants play in relationship to the animal life within. 

We then moved to Southeast Asia and explored “Under the Sea” where students navigated each ocean layer and what factors dictate which animals can reside in each. The students are currently exploring the Himalayan Mountains in India where they are learning how mountains are formed, and how the elevation zones of mountains effect the plant and animal life within each. 

This class is valuable because it has interacts with the students sense of wonder and desire to learn more about animal life throughout the world. Enthusiasm and curiosity is the best fuel for learning. Rather than discussing singular topics, we have presented the material to the students in an explorative approach. The students have traveled and become aware of different regions of the world by discussing maps, habitats and the interactions of climate. It’s also part of our mission for students to develop a global consciousness, which is a driving force behind including a world wide approach for this class. 

Students work on projects in class recreating a rainforest floor from a shoebox and craft materials, to organizing and recording a video presentation of the ocean zones to creating "ice cream cone" mountains and utilizing frosting to denote elevation zones. This hands on approach is for our visual, spatial, naturalist and logical learners! 

The multiple intelligences focused on in Animal Kingdoms are Spatial (understanding how to navigate a map and locations around the world), Logical (exploring patterns and relationships found throughout many habitats around the world), Naturalist (An ability to identify and distinguish among different types of plants, animals, and weather formations that are found in the natural world) and Interpersonal (working with peers in class to complete projects and activities). Please continue to encourage your children to be thinking about the worlds around them, to make observations of what they see and what kind of plants and animals exist as a result!

 Here are some of the students finished layers of the rain forest projects. This project had its challenges, especially working groups, but we learned through them and problem solved why we ran into these challenges. 

Here are some of the students finished layers of the rain forest projects. This project had its challenges, especially working groups, but we learned through them and problem solved why we ran into these challenges.