If you are not currently teaching students, there is a non-teaching format for this course. Please contact the instructor, Ron Kremer firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Exploring Animals with Experience-Based Activities emphasizes student interaction with concrete materials, encouraging hands-on exploration of concepts, constructing meaning and understanding. The students will be behaving as scientists: Exploring, comparing, observing, identifying, recording data, etc. The emphasis at the elementary level is on observing. (Science protocols require the humane treatment of animals. Care needs to be taken for animals brought into the classroom for observation.) Students will be engaged in field and classroom observations, model building, and art projects that reinforce the concepts. These interactive activities are consistent with common core standards and can be easily adapted to the needs of all students. (Many of the activities have starred suggestions at the end for further study, particularly for older students.) The course is structured so that the teacher can choose the assignments they want to accomplish depending on the number of units (1, 2, or 3) they are taking, or select the assignments most appropriate for the students they are teaching.
1 Credit/Unit – $135 (staff training assignment and application, 2 major activities, 2 extensions, 2 reflection)
2 Credits/Units – $270 (staff training assignment and application, 4 major activities, 4 extentions, 4 reflections)
3 Credits/Units – $405 (staff training assignment and application, 6 major activities, 6 extensions, 6 reflections)
From the Instructor
Our planet is like a giant ark in space. It is filled with a rich diversity of life! Animals can be found living in every nook and cranny on Earth. Tiny little krill live beneath the ice in Antarctica, tube worms live near undersea volcanic vents spewing a boiling hot soup rich in minerals. Blind fish live in underground pools and streams in dark caves. Tardigrades (water bears) can survive in the Earth’s driest, hottest deserts.
The emphasis of this course is on student interaction with concrete materials, encouraging hands-on exploration of concepts related to zoology. The students will be behaving as scientists: exploring, comparing, observing, identifying, recording data, etc. The emphasis at the elementary level is on observing. Science protocols require the humane treatment of animals. Care needs to be taken for animals brought into the classroom for observation. Students will be engaged in field and classroom observations, model building, and art projects that reinforce the concepts.
For some of the activities you will need to establish a mud-bottom “pond” (aquarium) in your classroom. Several observation activities will require hand magnifiers. (Directions for building simple ten-power microscopes are included in the course material.)
A number of the activities have extensions or modifications that allow the teacher to “tailor” the content to the needs of the students. If there is an activity that you wish to use, but it is at a level of difficulty not appropriate for your students the instructor will be pleased to help you modify that activity so that it is appropriate. (Some of the activities have starred suggestions at the end for further study, particularly for upper grade students.)
Active involvement with concrete materials and observing the outcomes will change the way a child sees the world. As they acquire new insights and fit them into their schema their “world view” will never be the same! The child’s apperceptive mass (the body of ideas they know to be true because of direct experience) increases. This is the “heart” of authentic learning… the children are living what they are learning!
This style of teaching and learning…
- takes more time than traditional instruction.
- moves the teacher from the center of attention. Instead of being the dispenser of knowledge the teacher becomes a resource person, enabling students to acquire knowledge through their own effort.
- requires equipment and materials beyond the textbook.
This course is appropriate for teachers of primary grades through middle school, particularly teachers who respect children as learners and are accustomed to hands-on activities that may be a little messy and take more time than traditional lessons.
This course may not be appropriate for teachers who are apprehensive about relinquishing their authority as the dispenser of knowledge and are unwilling to say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out together.”
Start a “swamp” in your classroom and observe pond animals. Collect several snails and design a habitat jar to keep them “happy.” Fold an origami frog and make it hop… and much, much more when you are, “Exploring Animals Using Experience-Based Activities!”
Check out the student activity called Student Activity B3g – Observing Snails EDUO 9525
This course emphasizes student interaction with concrete materials, encouraging hands-on exploration of concepts, constructing meaning and understanding. The students will be behaving as scientists: Exploring, comparing, observing, identifying, recording data, etc. (Care needs to be taken for animals brought into the classroom for observation.) Students will be engaged in field and classroom observations, model building, and art projects that reinforce the concepts.
The teacher will:
1. Collect materials needed for interactive activities (observations, model building, and art projects).
2. Provide opportunities for students to engage in concrete, hands-on explorations.
3. Ask interactive questions that engage students in the higher level thinking skills.
4. Lead an open-ended brainstorming session.
Course Relation to CCS or other Professional Standards
This course aligns to the standards for: Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools,
Kindergarten through Grade Twelve:
LS1.A: Structure and Function: Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects,
protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, and take in food, water, and air.
LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans: There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in
different places on land and in water.
LS4.C: Adaptation: For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
LS1.A: Structure and Function: Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.
LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems: Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants.
40 years: General elementary grade teacher, school district staff trainer, and staff developer for California Science Implementation Network. Author and guest speaker at state level conferences for mathematics. Recognized for exemplary work in the field of education by the Johns Hopkins Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth. My goal is to convince teachers of the importance of "discovery learning" using open-ended, hands-on explorations. I like working on projects around the home with my family. I sing tenor in our church choir and volunteer tutor at Shriners Children's Hospital."