This week we explored habitats and the animals and plants that live in them. We defined habitat as a place where plants and animals live. We started by looking at a map of Irvine and circling all of the habitats we have visited this semester: the woods, the meadow, the wetlands, and the stream. Then we brainstormed a huge list of plants and animals that we have seen/believe might live in each habitat.
We travelled to Irvine’s different habitats in search of the plants and animals that we listed and ended up adding new ones to our list that we hadn’t thought of. In the woods our favorites were Spicebush (because we can use the wet leaves to turn into leaf people), Mayapples, squirrels, chipmunks, birds and Jack-in-the-Pulpit. In the meadow our favorites were Milkweed, Grabweed and the birds (we found baby birds in a nest!). At the wetland we chewed on Onion Grass and were excited to find froglets along with the adult frogs and tadpoles. While we didn’t get a chance to visit the stream this week, we remembered we found frogs and macro-invertebrates (the crawdad was a favorite) the last time we went. Since the weather changed so much throughout the week, we were able to see the different habitats as they changed with the weather. One day when there was a lot of rain, the stream was rushing and even had waterfalls, but when we went back on a sunny day there were only pools. In the stream pools we found lots of frogs but were unable to catch any. Although we were disappointed we didn’t catch any frogs, we caught toads in the outdoor classroom almost every morning. We created habitats for them with pots from the outdoor kitchen, plants and worms.
We had a special visitor come to class who can live in many different habitats at Irvine. An opossum can be found in the woods, meadow, wetland or even at the stream! We had a chance to learn about her, watcher her eat a banana, and touch her tail. It reminded us of touching a snake since there was no hair on it.
We also read a story called Home for a Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown. This story is about a rabbit who isn’t sure where she should live. She travels through different habitats and talks to different animals in search of the place she should live, which ends up being underground in a meadow.
On Wednesday, we went on a field trip to a new habitat: the Beach! We had a great day playing in the water and sand, finding evidence of animals (shells), and even spotting a water snake. Back at Irvine on Thursday, we learned more about beach habitats. We read a story called What Lives in a Shell? by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld to learn more about ocean animals that live in shells. We then observed Irvine’s collection of shells. We found out that when we put the conch shells up to our ears and listen really hard, we can hear the ocean. Inspired by the beach habitats we used sand and glue to make beach art in our journals.