A virtual visit to Edinburgh Zoo
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A virtual visit to Edinburgh Zoo

This week, the Grade 2 students began their inquiry into their final unit of the year – Life Cycles. Normally, to tune into this unit, the grade 2 students take a trip to the zoo but, given the circumstances, this wasn’t possible. This didn’t stop us and, instead, we brought the zoo to ISUtrecht!

By Gemma Manson, classroom teacher 2 Red

The students put on their biology hats and became scientists for the day. Our first stop was Edinburgh Zoo. Through their live webcam we enjoyed watching the zoo’s many inhabitants go about their day. We played close attention to their habitat, features and if they were in a group or by themselves.

Can penguins survive without ice?

We watched the lion relax in the shade in his enclosure and wondered why he wasn’t eating the bird that was sat beside him. We watched the koala climb from tree to tree to eat fresh eucalyptus and were surprised at how active it was as it swung from one branch to the next. Grade 2 Red’s favourite was the penguin cam. They were being fed at the time and appeared to be very excited to get their fish. We enjoyed watching them waddle up to the zookeeper and then going for a swim. The students noticed that there was no ice or snow in the zoo and the penguins come from cold climates. We wondered if the penguins would be able to survive without ice.

“Cleaning fish”

Next, we took a trip to Georgia Aquarium. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the jellyfish swim peacefully in the water, with their tentacles following behind. It made us wonder why jellyfish have no face. We also watched the beluga whale swim amongst the rocks. The students noticed that the beluga whale’s environment looked very different to that of the jellyfish. When watching a shark glide through the water in the tank, we made connections to the lion and wondered why the shark wasn’t eating the fish floating alongside it. Adhith (2 Red) suggested that perhaps they were “cleaning fish” and the shark likes them because they clean all the dirt of its skin.

Insect hotel

The final trip of the day for these biologists was to the park close by the school. The students in 2 Blue made some interesting discoveries before they even left the school grounds. They observed the pond at our school and found some young insects that looked like mosquitoes and wondered if they would grow up to be full sized mosquitoes. They found an insect hotel nailed to a tree, but unfortunately, no insects were there at the time. This made the students wonder why, although they did find some interesting life close by!

Butterfly and lady bird

At the park, the students spent some time observing and counting life in a specific area, using hula hoops. We counted some ants, a beetle and a few flies. We even came across a butterfly and a ladybird. After some time observing the area within the hula hoops, Mihir (2 Red) noted that, just because it doesn’t move, doesn’t mean that it isn’t alive. We noticed that there was plenty of grass, moss and plants that looked like wheat. We wondered what their proper name was.

The grade 2 students had so much fun starting this very interesting new unit. They are very much looking forward to learning more and inquiring into their individual wonders.