A class of Washington Primary School kindergarten students thoroughly enjoyed a special lesson delivered to them from 3,000 miles away by California Academy of Sciences staff.
Teachers Peri Alfano and Emily Meyers celebrated National Distance Learning Day with a unique lesson for the youngsters in their class.
“We learned about penguins, their living environment and what they need to survive,” Mrs. Meyers said. “The students interacted with staff from the California Academy of Sciences and engaged in ‘turn and talks’ with each other to discuss the parts of a penguin’s body and how to waddle like a penguin.”
The California Academy of Sciences is “home to engaging exhibits, charismatic live animals, and a fascinating team of scientists and presenters working to explore, explain, and sustain the diversity of life. Through formal and informal education programs, the Academy fosters scientific literacy among teachers and learners of all ages,” according to the organization’s website.
Students learned about a colony of South African penguins residing at the California Academy of Sciences. The youngsters were amazed that while penguins are similar to other birds there are differences that help them to survive in harsh environments.
The Washington kindergarteners explored what it’s like to be a penguin by waddling and swimming like one, while investigating the habitat in which they live. They later had plenty of questions for Academy staff as well as for Mrs. Alfano and Mrs. Meyers.
“The students loved interacting with an educator who was all the way in California,” Mrs. Meyers said. “I hope we have more opportunities to view more lessons like these in the future.”
Here’s how the distance virtual lesson unfolded:
- Students compared penguins to other birds to discover what features they all have in common.
- The kindergarteners virtually traveled to South Africa to observe the natural habitat of these penguins.
- The youngsters took a look at the Academy’s African penguin colony as staff members made observations about the birds and the habitat in which they live in California.
- Students discovered through observing penguins swimming and eating, how penguins use their unique features to survive.
- The kindergarteners were sad to hear that African Penguins are critically endangered.
As the lesson wrapped up, the Washington youngsters had come to understand how a penguin’s physical features help it to survive in its environment. They also learned more about the practice of observing and asking pertinent questions. Finally, the kindergarteners gained a new appreciation for penguins and the places where they live.