Oct 17, 2009
Looking for Living Things
It was a pretty simple assignment, but I had a feeling the kids would really enjoy it, and it turned out I was right. All my 7th grade science students had to do was go outside and make a list of all the living things they could find. At first it seemed absurdly simple: Let's see. . . .grass, trees, birds. . .what else? But right about the time I spotted some tube-shaped mushrooms hiding in the grass, things started getting interesting. The the weathered lumber near the playground turned out to be a treasure trove of life--with each one we turned over, we found a creeping, crawling menagerie of life. Everything from fungi and lichens to worms and beetles to ticks and centipedes to the creature that brought our exploration to a shrieking end--a large rodent of some kind that scuttled out from beneath one of the overturned pieces of lumber.
This photo was taken just before we uncovered the rodent--we think it was a mouse--that sent everyone scurrying away. It's amazing what you can see when you pay attention. Just the other day I saw a very large animal--I think it might have been a woodchuck or groundhog-just across the street from the school.