• 68°

Snakes, tarantulas and lizards endorse fourth-graders’ research

MADISON – One fourth-grader at Madison Elementary School innocently summarized the value of a recent project: “Once you learn about something, you become less afraid of it.”

More than 100 fourth-graders selected an animal to individual research. Their study culminated on Dec. 13 with show-and-tell visits of an array of creatures.

Library Media Specialist Bonnie Howard and fourth-grade teachers Sara Arszman, Colin Gifford, Pam Shelton and Joy Wilson collaborated on the project. They wanted “a more authentic experience for students to present their research to a live audience in the library media center,” Howard said.

“We started brainstorming ways to build interest and excitement. The idea of bringing in live animals was born,” Howard said.

For research, students visited the library to create Google Slide presentations (similar to PowerPoint) that included facts, photos and videos. They also visited curated research sites via Google Classroom, an online platform that teachers use to share materials with students.

“Students also used (library) books for their research rubric,” Howard said. With SKYPE, the fourth-graders contacted an animal research scientist in Quebec, Canada; this experience fueled their excitement about sharing research.

To recruit animals, Howard contacted residents and nearby Animal Trax, where “Jamie Hall and daughter Kaitlin Bailery were so generous. Their boa constrictor was one of the most popular animals,” along with geckos and frogs.

Parent volunteers visited with their animals. Two graduate research students, Kayla Wilson from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Jon Nemati who works on bat research at Alabama A&M University, attended with animals, including a tarantula.

The fourth-graders shared Google presentations with approximately 500 visitors, including other classes. “The live, exotic animals (allowed) students and adults to gain an appreciation for the beauty of these animals and to replace some of their fear with knowledge,” Howard said.

Some Madison elementary students shared their personal animals, especially snakes.

“Students expressed more excitement than fear. Having community members and parent volunteers bring their snakes (for) students to ask questions was a wonderful opportunity to engage our students’ curiosity. Their excitement was tangible,” Howard said.

Most students asked if the snakes were poisonous (they weren’t), which led to an explanation of Alabama’s venomous snakes. One student asked if certain animals could bite. The presenter said, “Anything with a mouth can bite. You need always to respect that possibility, but these animals have been handled and are less likely to bite.”

“I hope this event continues to grow and we can offer more opportunities for students to gain a better understanding of the magnificent world that exists beyond the classroom,” Howard said.

James Clemens High School

James Clemens Theatre claims awards at state Trumbauer festival

Madison

City council green-lights $11 million bid to turn old Three Springs complex into community center

Madison

Young artists can submit artwork that will be launched into space

Events

Toyota Field to host Artemis I splashdown party on Sunday

Bob Jones High School

Bob Jones to represent Alabama at Southeastern Theatre Conference

Business

The State Of The Rocket City Trash Pandas 2022

FRONT PAGE FEATURED

Rocket City Marathon 2022: New Format, New Course, New Day

James Clemens High School

Christmas Card Lane brightens downtown streets

Liberty Middle School

World War II, Korea veteran Walt Siffringer accepts Quilt of Valor

Bob Jones High School

beEntrepreneurial [beE] High School Idea Competition sets Dec. 7 deadline

Madison

School board approves bid to turn the old West Madison campus into PreK Center

Bob Jones High School

Greenpower racing builds STEM skills and confidence

Madison

Madison Animal Rescue Foundation in need of new foster homes

Madison

How to submit your child’s “Letter to Santa”

Events

Neighbors: Community theater groups in Decatur to stage ‘ELF: The Musical’

Events

Driving Nights for Galaxy of Lights begin today at Huntsville Botanical Garden

Events

Polar Express Christmas Tree Trail lighting and Wassail Fest being held Friday in downtown Madison

Polar Express Christmas Tree Trail lighting and Wassail Fest being held Friday in downtown Madison

Bob Jones High School

Former Patriot named assistant director of coaching at North Alabama SC

Former Patriot named assistant director of coaching at North Alabama SC

Digital Version

Check out the new issue of Madison Living Magazine

James Clemens High School

James Clemens medical and drama students, first responders simulate trauma scene

Madison

Curbside recycling recovery assistance throughout the weekend

Bob Jones High School

Scholarships at stake in American Legion oratorical contest

Bob Jones High School

Nichols’ podcast avers multi-disciplines feed theatre

Business

Town Madison becomes city’s first Arts & Entertainment District

x