We first started with building a zoo out of blocks, pretend tools, and small animals to observe the children at play to get an idea of what they about zoos. During our morning meeting the children were able to tell about all they knew and what they wanted to know about zoos and that is what sparked our further investigations!
What They Knew About Zoos: They have fences. Zoos have signs to tell you what the animals are. There are different kinds of animals in the zoo.
Questions They Wanted to Know: Where does a zoo get their animals from? What do animals need to live in a zoo? What animals can live together? What does a zoo keeper do?
The children’s questions guided us further into planning our zoo investigations. Using books, pictures, and the IPAD we were able to research deeper about animals. Each child selected an animal they wanted to learn more about and together researched about their animal’s needs and habitat. Some children chose to work alone while others worked with a friend to make a drawing of what the habitat should look like. We then made our plans come to life by using a variety of materials for the children to create an actual habitat for their animals.
During the creation of our own mini-zoo we also worked together to draw a large zoo map. We discussed where animals should go and drew their personal habitats onto the map. We also learned to draw roads, signs, restaurants, concession stands, a ticket office, and bathrooms on our map. Using our map we then created our own zoo. The children were excited to place their zoo habitats around the classroom and even made space in the classroom where the children sold tickets and concession treats for the visitors of the zoo!
The project has been a huge success and is evident in all the learning going on in the classroom! I hope you take time to stop and see all the pictures, documentation, and work the children have produced over the last few weeks!