Thursday, February 14, 2013

Creepy, crawly and oooh, so fun!

We have long since wanted to have more voices on this blog, especially those at TLS Duke. Enter the great and powerfully talented Kimberly. A beloved teacher in the Butterfly room, Kimberly is also a mother and the amazing artist behind the TLS @ Duke’s bubble mural and t-shirts. She is now adding her voice to our community blog. I hope you enjoy her presence as much as I do. --- Jessica

Creepy crawlers, slithering snakes, and croaking toads joined the Bears classroom this Friday. A Friday the children will not soon forget.

Miss Stacy from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences visited the classroom. Mrs. Katie asked the class to “show me your bubble,” and they did just that! With their arms raised above their head, they made sure they were spaced out and ready for an awesome experience.

Miss Stacy started out the session by asking what a vertebrate is? We learned that vertebrates have backbones. The kids all felt their backbones and learned that they are vertebrates too. Next was on to invertebrates. An invertebrate has no backbone. Juleah shared with the class that worms are invertebrates and Lee said that scorpions are as well! We then learned that scorpions have an exoskeleton.

An exoskeleton is an external skeleton that helps protect the animal’s body. Astrid shared with the class that a snail has an exoskeleton on his back. Jake mentioned another example, a beetle. With that, Miss Stacy uncovered the first creepy crawler, a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.

These cockroaches are from Madagascar an island off the coast of Africa. Madagascar hissing cockroaches have things called spiracles. These are used to make the hissing sound we all heard. They blow air through the spiracles to produce the sound they are so aptly named after. We learned that only male cockroaches have knots on their heads to wrestle with other males. We also learned that cockroaches favorite things to eat are dead things. They love decaying trees and plants. Jacob said that Hyenas also love eating dead things too.

Next a creature from our very own waters was shared with us. A Crayfish, which is also known as: crawdad, crawdaddy, or a crawfish. This is a decomposer just like the cockroach. The crayfish has a neat trick. When the weather gets dry they dig in the dirt to find clay that is more moist. The dirt they displace creates a hollow tube of dirt called a hut, a crayfish house, among many other names. Callum shared with the class that like a lobster a crayfish is a crustacean.
Talk about creepy, our next creature got squeals of delight and eeks of disgust. While we couldn’t touch it, we got to see a Rosehead Tarantula. Miss Stacy explained to us that a tarantula is an arachnid. Jake stated this is because of its eight legs. Also Conrad let us know that this arachnid has venom it uses to help eat other animals. This sounded kind of scary but Jacob insured us that bugs are very important to the earth.

The next thing we met was a toad. Did you know that in NC alone we have 25 species of frogs and toads. They are all categorized by their call. The children were very entertained when they got to hear several of the different sounds that different frogs and toads could make. We couldn’t touch the toad because toads have very sensitive skin. Here are some interesting differences between toads and frogs. Toads have bumpy skin while frogs have smooth skin. Also, toads have short legs for hopping and frogs have long legs for leaping.

Miss Stacy saved the best for last! She brought in a beautiful Andean Milk Snake. Illaria shared with the class that snakes have so many vertebrae because it helps them slither. Snakes are reptiles and their skin is made up of scales. We also learned that snakes are carnivores. Katie shared with us that carnivore means an animals that likes to eat meat. Do you know the story behind this snake’s name? Originally farmers thought that the snake snuck into their barns at night to steal milk. But in actuality, the snake comes in to hunt rodents.

What fun we had today and what insightful kids we have here at The Little School. Thank you so much to the Bear Class for letting me join in this fantastic learning opportunity. You were such great hosts. -----Kimberly Macenko

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