Our ELC Pre-K students recently wrapped up a unit on animal study where they explored the differences and similarities between mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The unit ended with a trip to the Shinagawa Aquarium, thanks to our generous PTA. Pre-K teachers contribute details on the unit and field trip.
During the Pre-k animal unit, students study a variety of animals and habitats. The animal unit ends each year with a PTA-sponsored trip to the aquarium, allowing students to see sea creatures and habitats first hand and up close.
This year, two of the Pre-k classes chose to focus more on aquatic life as part of their studies while one class took a different route, with each student selecting a favorite animal. Their teacher, Hillary Storey says “We ended up with a very interesting array of animals from various parts of the world and this included several ocean animals such as seahorse, blue tang fish, angler fish and dolphin. We learned five facts about each animal—where it lived, what it looks like, a special skill or characteristic, what it eats and what sound it makes. We took all our animals and created an animal facts wall in the hallway so parents and friends could read about all the things we learned about each animal.”
Julie Zamorano and Martha Mundy’s classes, concentrating on aquatic life, investigated their own choice of sea creature or aspect of the ocean. Students thought of various questions about what they chose and their parents were invited to participate by coming in to help them research. Parents and children collaborated to make a small ocean in the classrooms, with one class’ ocean habitat even featuring blacklight-powered bioluminescence. Students later reflected on their experiences, looking at photos on the monitor as they shared what their favorite animal was and why.
During the aquarium trip, the young biologists took the opportunity to recognize familiar animals, discover new and interesting creatures and explore based on their own interests. One class went on an animal scavenger hunt as well, with students going on the lookout for animals such as sharks, turtles and lesser known creatures such as the sea snake. All students also attended a dolphin show.