My school is a public high school south of San Francisco. We have a diverse student body. We serve students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Some of our students are English learners, some students have learning differences. Most students are motivated to learn. In addition to the core subjects, the school offers programs in drama, music, choir, dance, art, journalism, robotics and sports. Most students enjoy participating in these programs, they enjoy being active and enjoy the social aspects of being part of a band, team, and group. Students are in particular very interested in science, and most students take at least one science class every year.
The classroom environment is very positive; students enjoy doing labs because they get to engage with science directly, instead of hearing about it.
The students enjoy doing inquiry work - figuring out things by themselves. This is engaging for them and helps develop their critical thinking skills and their independence. They work well with each other in the lab and have the opportunity to get to know each other better. This makes their learning more interesting, engaging and enjoyable.
My students are learning this year about human impact on the environment and the ecosystem, and the effect that human behavior has on the plants and animals in that ecosystem.
The Zoomobile staff brings several animals to the classroom and explores the different roles that the animals have in their habitats.
We then learn about human behavior that is changing the ecosystems, and how the plants and animals cope with these changes. Specific topics that are explored are habitat destruction, climate change, animal products, the pet trade, invasive species, misunderstood animals, and success stories.
When the zoo staff brings the animals to the classroom, the learning becomes much more interesting and engaging for the students. The personal encounter of the students with the animals helps get the students engaged in the learning, and makes the topic "come alive".
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