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vertebrates

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We start out our study of vertebrates looking at the difference between those with backbones and those without.

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The children can feel their backbone and see that they are a vertebrate.

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We had an example of a very large vertebrae from a whale!

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The children liked to feel how heavy the whale vertebrae was.

Fish!

We have a fish in our classroom that lives with us so the children can experience it everyday.

We take care of our fish by feeding it and cleaning out the tank.

We also enjoyed making fish prints with this fish mold.

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First paint the fish with watercolor or tempra paint.

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Put the paper on and push down.  This absorbs the paint and when peeled back, looks like a fish print!

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A child also drew a picture of a fish.

Birds!
Another vertebrate we have studied has been birds!  We had a special owl come and visit from the Leslie Science Center one day.

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We talked about some of the parts of an owl.

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We did an experiment to see if we could hear a whole owl wing flapping vs. one bird feather.

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It was determined that the owl wings were silent to us!
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Owl wings are quite soft too!

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We were very gentle!

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The guide took the owl out of the travel box!

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Some children correctly guessed that this is a screech owl!.

Thank you to Leslie Science Center!

Reptiles!
Boris the Tortoise came to visit us again this year.

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He belongs to one of our children’s families.

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We learned about Boris and what he likes to eat.

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He moves quickly which was surprising to some!

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We had many questions such as:

What does he eat?

Why does he pee on the floor?

Why does he have a band aid on his neck?

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We learned that Boris is from Asia and lives on land (grasslands).

He can hold his breath in the water.

Boris likes to burrow and is vegan but can eat insects.

Lettuce, raspberries, blueberries and carrots are his favorites.

He can hibernate at 45 degrees and sleep for 6-7 months but he never has.

Thank you so much to Peter and Melissa!!

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The children were also exposed to reptiles by looking at a fake snake and then examining a real snake skin.

Amphibians

We didn’t have a special amphibian visit our classroom this year but we have two who are our pets.  The children help to take care of and feed two dwarf water frogs.

Mammals

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We like to have a mammal live in our classroom so the children can help to take care of it.  We have had a hamster for the last few years and the children like to observe and feed him.  Sadly our most recent hamster passed away about two weeks ago.  He lived a long hamster life of two years and we had a special meeting to discuss what happened.  This gave the children the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their feelings.  Many children made pages for a memory book about the hamster.

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We also had a guinea pig visit the classroom for a day.

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The children really enjoyed petting it and feeling it’s soft fur.

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They learned that mammals give milk to their babies that are born live and have hair or fur.

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They also enjoyed watching the guinea pig eat lettuce.

Classification of vertebrates

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After the children learn about the five types of vertebrates, they spend time classifying the different types.  We do this with help from small plastic animals and a pictorial representation of each class.  They think about the characteristics of the vertebrates and place them under the photo.

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We also have a visit from the Critter Guy to wrap it all up.  He brings at least one example from each category except a fish.

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Paul (aka “the critter guy”) brought two examples of amphibians.
First was the tree frog.

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The second amphibian we had not experienced before.  This one was a salamander.  It lives in Mexico City and lives in lakes.  These types of salamanders do not lose their gills to develop internal lungs.

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Paul brought two types of mammals.

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First up was a nice mouse.

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Next was a super soft chinchilla!

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The reptiles were a Tegu lizard from the rainforest and a King snake.

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And the Doves returned.  This time Paul brought an egg as well.

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We really enjoyed our visit from various vertebrates.  It is so fun to learn about the five types by having hands on experiences.