K-1 Students Encounter Animals in the Classroom
By Mrs. Rachael Wood
Teacher of Kindergarten / 1st Grade Math, Science, History, and Geography
At Belmont Classical Academy, we delight in making connections across our curriculum. Making connections deepens learning, as various truths are shown to be related to other truths. The more we can make connections, the more we will retain knowledge and understand the beauty of our world.
John Milton Gregory, a Baptist minister and educator, stated in his book The Seven Laws of Teaching:
“Knowledge is not a mass of simple independent facts revealed to the senses; it is made up of facts with their laws and relations. Facts stand linked together in classes, groups, and systems; associated by likeness, by causations, by contact and environment. Each fact is related to innumerable other facts; each truth is a part of some larger truth which includes and explains it.”
“Every new fact or truth must be brought into connection or comparison with facts and truths already known before it will fully reveal itself and take its place in the widening circle of knowledge.”
Recently, our kindergarten and first-grade students enjoyed an opportunity to make connections between science and geography. This was largely accomplished through a visit with several furry creatures. For two days, the class participated in detailed discussions surrounding a few select animals. This unique experience was made possible by obtaining taxidermy animals on loan from the Brigham Young University Monte L. Bean Museum. It is not every day one gets to touch a green iguana, a black-footed penguin, a brown bear, a sea turtle, a lion, an arctic fox, an elephant foot, a Pangolin pelt, and more.
After several weeks of studying and learning specific facts and features of each continent, including specific animals, students were then able to have an up-close experience with an animal from each of the continents.
As each animal was presented to the students, a discussion took place as to which continent the animal resides. Following this discussion, each student was able to touch, look at, and examine the different animals present. (Besides the animals visiting other classrooms, they were also available in the office for the remaining student body to view.) Mr. Carman, our Head of School, joined the class and brought an electronic magnifier. This allowed the class to see the animals in greater detail. The Green Iguana from South America made quite the conversation as the students examined its scales, seeing it zoomed up close and displayed on a computer screen. As each animal was examined individually, a discussion took place about the beauty of our world. The students marveled at God’s hands in the details of His creations.
Belmont is an independent K-12 school in the classical, Christian tradition. In partnership with parents, we invest in students — helping them acquire an education of the highest quality, find joy in life, and become influences for good in the world. If you are interested in receiving updates about Belmont, please subscribe to Exulto here by inserting your email.