Build your own 'wild self' just like 'Where the Wild Things Are'

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What is it?  Your kids will really love using this website from the New York Zoo's and Aquarium group.  They create a model of them self in a great looking storybook art style and then add some wild features such as scales, claws extra eyes and legs.  They can then set them self in a wild setting and save the image to be used elsewhere.

How can I use this in the classroom? This is a great creative activity for young readers who are reading a text like 'Where the Wild things are' they can initially create a model of their wild self print it out and create a narrative  or piece of writing based around that image.  You may also find a use for this if you are exploring mythology, animals and what elements go into creating some famous monsters such as a minotaur.  Have a go of build your wild self here.

Save a frog and dissect it on the iPad instead with this brilliant science app

Frog Dissection is an educational iPad app from Punflay, This PeTA-award-winning app is like a detailed instructional guide for the iPad that simulates the frog dissection procedure minus the mess and smell. The app has been conceptualized and designed in consultation with subject matter experts who validated the entire development process to ensure accuracy and usability of content. It is suitable for children in middle and high school and can act as a supplement or substitute to a real dissection.

So how does the app work?

You begin by selecting the dissection instruments-pins, scalpel, marker and forceps from a tray and pin down the virtual specimen. Follow the rest of the steps with the help of detailed written instructions along with voice over. Learning is enhanced through vivid 3D imaging that helps in visualizing the frog’s anatomy effectively. The complete dissection sequence will give the user a feel for the real thing without ever having to step into a wet lab.

Apart from walking the student through the virtual procedure, the app also has additional features that make it a more comprehensive learning tool. Teachers will find the segment on classification and life-cycle of frogs particularly useful. A comparison of human vs. frog anatomy is also included in the app.

What’s in it for teachers and students?

Depending on the age group and intended outcome of this segment of the biology curriculum, here’s how we think the app can be used in the classroom.  If dissection is part of the curriculum and your school is considering offering alternatives, then Frog Dissection can be used in lieu of the real thing.

Frog Dissection can also be used as a supplement to live dissection. In this case, teachers could first do a demo of the app in class and then follow it by allowing students to complete the real procedure in the lab. This approach will come handy especially for those who are a bit squeamish about the live procedure and would rather try a virtual procedure first.

For those in middle school, the app can be used as a demo in class. Following the demo, the teacher could divide the class into small groups and have them try the app to learn more about dissection and amphibians.

At under $5 from the app store it is definitely worth a look.

Endagered Species for Students

A unique collection of thousands of videos, images and fact-files illustrating the world's species, both endangered and in the U.K.  Access it here.

Switcheroo Zoo - interactive Animal Activities and Teacher Guides

I came across Switcheroo Zoo earlier in the week and have been using it with my kids in the classroom.  They really enjoy the games and activities and have done some great research on Animals from around the world.  Best of all for me their is an excellent teacher guide to accompany the activities.

Switch Zoo - Make New Animals
Visitors to this unique zoo make their own new creatures by switching the animals' heads, legs and tails. While students play, they can read facts about each of the animals that comprise their new beast. Visit our lesson plans section for classroom ideas.

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Your students can learn more about the animals in Switch Zoo by reading their Profiles in the Resources section below.

gold handLearn how to make new animals in Switch Zoo by taking the Guided Tour: Make New Animals. It's a hands-on, step-by-step guide so you will make animals while you learn! You can also click the gold hand on the fence to open the hidden How to Play panel and find out about everything you can do in the zoo. Or you can click here to read How to Play before entering the zoo.

Lesson Plans
For art, science, creative writing and persuasive writing projects. These lesson plans use Switch Zoo animals to spark interest and creativity.

Interdisciplinary Lesson PlansInterdisciplinary Lesson Plans
The result of a collaboration between four middle school teachers, these lesson plans are designed to be used either for an interdisciplinary activity, or for separate science, creative writing or persuasive writing projects.

Medieval Art Mixed Breed AnimalsMedieval Art Mixed Breed Animals
Art teacher Linda Woods shares her great lesson plan that references fantastic beasts in myth and legend, and uses Switch Zoo to generate ideas. To see drawings created by fifth grade students using the lesson plan, go to Mixed Breed Animal Drawings.

 

More Lesson PlansMore Lesson Plans
Visit the Lesson Plans page for simple science and creative writing plans for younger children, and links to Switch Zoo Lesson Plans off-site.

 

  

 

Resources

For on-site research: 142 animal profiles, a US endangered species map, and stories about unusual animal feats and ablities in the Zookeepers' Blog.

Animal ProfilesAnimal Profiles
142 animal species inhabit Switch Zoo and they are all profiled here, so students have easy access to interesting facts about the real animals that make up their fictional combination animals.Use the Google search tool on any page to quickly find animals.

Endangered Species MapEndangered Species Map
This interactive map of the United States provides information about the endangered species of each state. The color key includes descriptions of the biomes.



Zookeepers' BlogZookeepers' Blog
In these pages you'll find interesting news from the animal world, particularly reports that lead us to marvel at animals' unique, and often unexpected, behavior and abilities.