Friday, March 26, 2010

Field Trip: Homeschool Day at the Zoo

The Kansas City Zoo had their first annual Homeschool Day yesterday. We went with another homeschooling family and really had a great time. It was well organized and I believe truly made learning fun for the kids.
We started off with a joint assembly to welcome everyone. Then they explained how and why we classify animals. The rest of day was spent exploring 5 different classifications of animals; Invertebrates, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals. For each category you could choose to attend a presentation, craft, activity (game) or take a tour. Here is Gess in our opening assembly excited to start the day.


For our first event we chose to play the Parachute game while learning about Invertebrates. They all got around their parachute and flung the balls around, but this time each of the balls had the name of an animal and they had to first get all the vertebrates out of the mix, then they would pick out certain groups of invertebrates like the bugs, the ones that live in the ocean, etc. Then they just played with the parachute a couple of times at the end. Gess really loved that game, but what kid doesn't like the parachute game?
The kids were also given a journal at the opening session in which they had to answer questions about each classification. No matter which event you chose, they were sure to share the basic facts for that section. The kids that completed their journal at the end of the day were given a free ticket to ride the carousel. Here is what Gess learned while playing the Parachute Game about Invertebrates.


Next we decided to take "A Close Look at Reptiles." While this was supposed to be an activity it turned out to be more of a lecture, but Gess sat through it pretty well and at the end she did get to feel some snake and turtle skins.




Then there was a break for lunch. We were welcome to brown bag it but we chose to get our food there. Here is Gess enjoying her hot dog.



Next we chose the Amphibians Tour. While this was inside and interesting, it was pretty crowded and loud so Gess sort of lost interest in staying with the group. There were several things to do inside the Discovery Barn. Here is Gess getting some time to explore things on her own.





Then for our last outing, we decided to tour the Australia Aviary. Gess really enjoyed being in with the birds, one in particular kept pecking at her and when it stopped, she would try to get it to do it again. I tried to capture it on camera, but this was the best shot I got.



There was a final group assembly to review what we had learned that day. Gess was a bit tired of structure at this time, but all in all, she did fairly well. Of course, she did document things in her journal and earned herself a free ticket for the carousel. She had an animal all picked out to ride, until it was time to actually get on. At the last minute she decided that she was NOT getting on them. She said it was "scary." So instead we chose one with a seat that didn't move and she enjoyed the ride.


Gess learned more about animals in one day of a hands on adventure then she would have in a month of lessons at home. Of course we plan on expanding on what we she learned. We will be looking up videos, books and information about each classification. I hope the Kansas City Zoo continues to offer this event every year. If they do, we certainly plan on attending! Of course we also plan on going back this summer to see the new Polar Bear Exhibit.
We want to thank the Kansas City Zoo for offering this program to homeschoolers. Going to the zoo on our own is fun, but having the experts teach you as you explore is resource we found very valuable!

4 comments:

Tara said...

Love the pics! Looks like she had a great time and learned a ton!

Beverly said...

this looks like such a great time. Gess is getting so tall.

suelmayer said...

Nothing beats that hands on teaching. I strive to talk less and let Sam experience more!!

Amber P. said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. We're planning to go to the fall one next week.

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