A representative of the Sedgwick County Zoo visited second-grade students at Lincoln Elementary Tuesday for a show-and-tell presentation about Kansas animals.
This was one of several speakers and trips planned for this spring semester as part of a project-based grant aimed to teach about habitats. For the culminating project of this semester, students will compile and present information on habitats to a panel of experts from zoos and other locations.
During her visit, the Sedgwick County Zoo representative discussed the habitats of more than 10 animals found in the Sunflower state using pictures, furs and live creatures.
Prairie dogs have elaborate homes, consisting of six chambers — an entrance, exit, nursery, parent room, storage area and flood chamber for water. They are constantly moving, and their homes are used by other animals after they leave.
An eagle’s home is a nest and has been known to be built in trees more than 20 feet high to project chicks.
Bison have called Kansas home for generations. When they roamed the land with Native Americans, the people used every part of their bodies, including hooves and hair.
The bobcat goes by many names because it’s habitat ranges as far north as Alaska and as far south as South America.
The animal that roused the loudest gasps was Norton, a female western hognose snake. This slithering creature can fan its neck like a cobra and is venomous, although its fangs are deep inside its mouth.
Norton was a favorite for second-graders Xavier Billings and Gabe Davis.
“I’ve never touched a real snake before,” Davis said.
Billings said he learned salamanders eat mice and also said he likes animals because he wants to know they are safe.
As they move through the semester, teacher JoRae Myers said the students will compare habitats between animals and also compare habitats of animals to humans.
“I think the project-based learning provides the students with the opportunity to dive into something of their real life,” she said. “They can actually apply it to the different habitats of their own world.”
Contact Jenae Pauls at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel