Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Homeschooling at the Zoo - and a FREE DOWNLOAD!

We love heading to the zoo for a field trip!

*Fun for all ages
*Offers abundant learning opportunities
*Each experience is unique
*Purchasing an annual membership makes it an affordable option for large families

You can easily alter the experience to teach various grade levels and subjects.  Here are just a few ideas to help you brainstorm how to make your field trip to the zoo a memorable, enjoyable, and educational event.

Geography: Classify animals by native continents.  Study the habitats.  You can also practice your map reading skills if the zoo offers a map.

History: How were the animals used by humans throughout the ages? Meat? Clothing? Transportation? Tools? Weapons?

Science: Study and classify the animals.  How is each animal uniquely designed?  Where does the animal fall into the food chain? What kind of habitat does the animal live in and why?  We love The Complete Zoo Adventure: A Field Trip in a Book by Gary and Mary Parker.

Math: Graph your observations. Calculate how many pounds of food different animals would consume in a year.  Calculate how long it would take a particular animal to travel 1 mile.  For younger children, play "I Spy" with different colors, shapes, or patterns.

Phonics, Reading, and Writing: There are plenty of opportunities to read signs around the zoo or play "I Spy" a letter.  Find an animal that begins or ends with a particular letter.  We love to increase our vocabulary with flashcards from PBS Cubed, and pull out a few new cards before each trip to the zoo.  Do a word search or cross word puzzle.  Write down five new facts you learned.  Observe an animal and see how many adjectives you can come up with to describe the animal. Bring a journal and do some creative writing, such as "If I were a tiger..." or "Lost in Africa". 

Art - Sketch, draw, or paint an animal or habitat. 

Grab your free "I Spy" and "Monkey Observation" activity sheets below!

Turn the Monkey Observation into a long term project by comparing behavior in different seasons/weather, different times of day, or between different species of monkeys.  

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