Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zoos - A to Z April Challenge

One of our favorite field trips for homeschooling is to zoos - both the ones close to us as well as ones we have visited while traveling. Zoos provide a view of animals and a learning opportunity that cannot compare to simply reading a book about animals and other wildlife.

Usually when we visit a zoo, there's a purpose behind the visit: to attend a class for homeschoolers, to practice photography skills, or to learn about animals in general or a specific location (e.g., the ocean, Africa, northern climates).

If we are unfamiliar with a zoo, we try to take a look at the map of the facility before visiting. This helps determine what we absolutely want to see.

Olivia looking at the map of the zoo 
she will be visiting this week.

For example, Sophia and Olivia will be going to a zoo this week. They each are enrolled in the 4-H Wildlife Biology project. So, they have selected 1-2 animals that they want to learn more about and photograph while at the zoo.

The map of the zoo and notes about what to do and 
learn about while there.

They also are both doing the 4-H Photography project so they looked at the maps and selected four animals that they want to spend more time photographing.

Sophia determining what animals she wanted to photograph 
for her 4-H Photography project.

By taking some time ahead of the visit, the girls will get more out of their visit and be able to use the information learned and photographs taken for 4-H projects that they will exhibit in July.

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can spend as much or as little time as we want at the zoo and watching each of the animals. We are able to spend the needed time reading informational signs as well as taking our time photographing the animals.

By learning about animals - some who we have learned whose status is endangered or at the critical level - we become aware of other issues of importance - deforestation, destruction of land because of development (houses and businesses), and global warming. Caring for our environment and making smarter choices that benefit the Earth are results of visiting zoos.

The field trips to the zoo - although educational - are fun as well. We come away from the visits always wanting to learn more about various animals and wildlife that we saw...and eager to return.


Rita said...

Have fun! I always liked to take my time and read all the informative signs and watch the animals for a longer time when I went to any zoo. But planning ahead of time--wow! They might even see something that they want to search out more information on when they get home, too. Love zoos! I'm glad most of them are much more humane than they used to be, too. :)

Sandy said...

Zoo's are awesome places, we went often when our DD was young. I've only been a few times since, but always my favorite are the Polar Bears to watch. We didn't do home school, but in our area buying a family membership gave us the ability to go often which is really nice when kids are young.

A-Z and now moving onto May

Michelle said...

The zoo is one of our favorite homeschooling trips as well!! We have a trip scheduled for next week!