Yep – we're studying endangered animals this week. Our library trips have included bringing home books on Kiwi, Amazon Parrots, Komodo Dragons, Mountain Gorillas and other endangered animals. We are preparing for a trip to the zoo when it gets nicer out, or our next trip out to the desert of the American Southwest – where it's nice right now and we can go to the zoo in winter without worrying about snow.
We're not limited to the warmer weather animals, and last fall they got an opportunity to be exposed to the Kirtland Warbler, a small bird that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has gone to great lengths for. Makeing sure that the ecosystem is viable for the species to come back from the brink of extinction...this little bird lives in Pine Trees in the Oscoda County area (Hrm, same place that Paul Bunyon was first written about) and is a beloved bird of the region!
Getting to see an endangered animal's ecosystem is one way to bring it home to the child that this species is at risk, and reinforce the child's existing lessons. Many kids learn by doing, and an opportunity to physically be there doesn't need to just be something to worry about; “Can I afford the airfare for the trip?” Often you can find endangered species not far from home.
So what does my child become exposed to in the process of learning this? Statistics, Wildlife Conservation, Zoology, Mathmetics, History, and Art as she coalesces this all into her little first grade mind.