What & How We’re Learning

In this post, grade three students share what and how they are learning about endangered animals. The great value of a transdisciplinary unit is the overlap students experience as they move from one content area to the next, remaining centered on a single purpose: this time, learning about endangered animals and what we can do to help those animals. Last week I had a chance to speak with many students about what they’re learning. So many third graders want you to know about why we need to protect endangered animals!

G3TDUJoelJoel likes teaching other people what he’s learned. My animal is the Malayan Tiger. It is like a subspecies of tiger that lives in Malaysian Peninsula and feeds on wild boar, deer and cattle. They are super long compared to other tigers which means they can jump farther when attacking. The tigers help control the wild boar population. Wild boars mess up farm crops. They are being hunted for their hides, to make carpets. In some places, the tiger is protected from poachers.

G3TDUKateKate thinks it is just a good experience to learn about our responsibility. My animal is the snow leopard. Its tail is over a hundred centimeters long and they use their tails to balance on rock and trees. Their stomach fur is really long to keep its body warm. Because their fur is so soft, snow leopards are poached for jackets and scarves. Climate change and air pollution is hurting the snow leopards. Since snow leopards hunt pica and hare, those animal populations would increase. Local farmers need to quit killing snow leopards.

G3TDUJoanneJoanne likes researching and learning. The South China tiger is the smallest of the Asian tigers. What’s cool is that it’s really big but it’s the smallest Asian tiger. We need to protect it because there’s people poaching it and there is less than twenty alive. If it disappears there will be too many deer and boars and the animal population won’t be equal. There are wildlife sanctuaries for the tiger to live.

G3TDUJacobyJacoby thought whales were slow until he met the Sei whale. The Sei whale one of the faster whales. It swims 30 mph, lives in the ocean in climate zone with four seasons and eats fish. Japanese sushi and scientific research is endangering this animal. We need to save the Sei whale because it’s at the top of its food chain. If it goes extinct, like some sharks have gone extinct, the oceans will fill up with old, dying fish. That leads to imbalance in fish populations.

G3TDURachelRachel thought it was fun to make fossils in KoLAB. The polar bear is the biggest bear in the world. But a polar bear cub is the size of a stick of butter. (!) They eat seals, walrus and sea birds. They live in the Arctic and are in danger because of habitat loss. The sea ice is getting smaller. Some people poach a polar bear for its fur. We should save the polar bear because if the polar bears are gone there will be too many seals and walrus.

Several students emailed what they’d like to share about what and how they’re learning.

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Below is a conversation with third graders Chanseo, Julie, Larry, Elijah and David. The sound is quiet, but listen to hear their knowledge and enthusiasm.

Take a look at the first post covering the grade three TDU. Look for two more posts: one from the teacher perspective and a second post featuring finished student work and covering the art show fundraiser for the World Wildlife Fund.

BIG thanks to all the students willing to share your knowledge!

Sarah Donaldson, Sally Merriman, Jon Barry and Stacy Trinh are classroom teachers. Specialty teachers involved are Jeremy Jacobsen, KoLAB; David Lee, Design; Megan Godek, Technology; Marsha Bycraft, Art; and Megan Greene, Library.

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