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While working with Brookfield through my graduate program, I had the opportunity to design a curriculum that could be used for such a trip.While this curriculum was designed particularly for Brookfield, many zoos now feature poetry throughout their exhibits, and these activities could easily be adapted for other zoos or natural history museums.
Perhaps there’s no funding for buses or planning a field trip is too logistically challenging.
Maybe there just isn’t a zoo within a reasonable distance from your school.
The following list contains suggested questions, but I’m always amazed by what students can generate on their own: Back in class After searching for poetry at the zoo, students will hopefully be hungry to write their own poems.
For some students, the fun of this activity will be in having a chance to write something their way.
This research provides educators with new opportunities to explore both narrative writing and ecology as means of building literacy skills, meeting Common Core Standards, and potentially impacting how students and their communities view their relationships with animals and the environment.
Anecdotally, I have found that students become more engaged in writing lessons that focus on animals, and though I am an English teacher, I imagine that giving students an opportunity for creative expression may help those who struggle with ecological and biological studies in the science classroom.
At one high school where I worked, all sophomore students visited the Brookfield Zoo as part of their biology class.
While chaperoning this outing, I realized that there was a huge missed opportunity to involve other disciplines in the trip, especially since the biology work that students needed to complete did not take the whole day.
Teachers can offer criteria to include, such as describing the animal’s habitat, ecological niche, and conservation threats, but some students may need more structure.
The following two examples provide formats for poems that are both easy to follow and easy to adapt based on particular learning criteria, such as descriptions of the animal, their diet, habitat, or threats to their population.