- Sponsorship -

Sparta kindergartners learn by building animal habitats

This classroom is a real zoo

There was no doubt in kindergartner Jacob Carr’s mind why he chose a moose when he had a chance to be a zookeeper.

“It’s big; it’s furry; you don’t normally get to see one; and my mom told me to pick it,” said the Ridgeview classroom zookeeper.

Official Zookeeper Naomi Rosario-Barrios

Jacob and his classmates in Nicole Bonkema’s room, as well as those in Ashley Roland’s classroom, spent days preparing for the day when zoo visitors, including parents, grandparents and friends, would arrive.

After choosing an animal from their own collections of stuffed creatures, they researched what the animal looked like, what it ate and where it lived.

When all the information was gathered, each student put the facts into a booklet, which could be used for reference when visitors arrived at the simulated zoo.

“The work was very age-appropriate, but they learned a lot about their animal,” said Roland. “They also had to figure out how to use materials from around the room to make an appropriate habitat or exhibit space for their animal.”

The zookeepers built exhibit spaces from small boxes, Lego blocks, and even dominos.

Eric Montego, who had chosen to study and show off a dinosaur, was building a fence with 1- to 2-inch building blocks when he announced, “I guess I will have to build it high. Dinosaurs can be kinda dangerous.”

Bryant Lawrence puts finishing touches on his giraffe exhibit

Teaming Up

Since each zookeeper chose which animal they wanted to exhibit, bears and cats of all kinds were popular. When two or more zookeepers chose similar creatures they had to work together to create the exhibit space.

In the Roland wing of the zoo, a plastic tub served as the zoo’s aquarium for students who had chosen to study and care for a seahorse and a lobster.

Zoo visitors were treated to a visit with a wide selection of creatures from the dinosaurs and lobsters to a monkey, a bee, turtles, a shark, a giraffe, a bird and of course Jacob’s moose.

Part of the work students put in before the zoo opened included making an official zookeeper hat and identification badge. All of their efforts paid off when they finally got to put them on and stand next to their exhibit.

Zoo visitors were encouraged to inquire about the animals as they walked through the exhibits. “What does it eat?” they asked. “What is its habitat like?”

“I love my walrus. He eats clams, lives in the water and has lots of little whiskers,” said Naomi Rosario-Barrios. “It is really cool being a zookeeper.”

- Sponsorship -
Janice Holst
Janice Holst
Janice Holst has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and is thrilled to spend some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.

LATEST ARTICLES

Students reopen fine-dining restaurant six months after closing its doors

GRCC’s The Heritage has reopened to the general public, with culinary students cooking, baking their way toward degrees...

Plotting for a plot

Students’ hand-drawn maps are meant for the safekeeping of memories and to spur ideas for when they write personal narratives...

Outdoor lover, zen seeker, middle-schooler hope-giver

Bill Cataldo is the new K-8 principal for Cedar Springs’ new Red Hawks Online virtual school this year. School News Network took some time to get to know him better in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

New VP says ‘It feels like joining a family’

Aaron Romoslawski is the new vice principal of Sparta High School. He takes over for Stacey Rumsey, who was named Sparta High School principal last spring...

Open spaces key to new middle school

The new building is designed for collaborative learning but its unique open spaces can be utilized for increased social distancing demands during the pandemic...

Here come the students; schools try to be ‘prepared for everything’

Area school districts have to be able to switch instruction plans if the pandemic fires up again, and be prepared for the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak in one of their schools...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS