Friday, November 4, 2016

Timberwolf Trail - Mouse House - 2016-17 Edition

Call me a nature nerd but I am having a ball creating lessons and units that connect the curriculum to outdoor learning. I am very excited about a unit we are currently immersed in. Based out of our Social Studies unit on Wants & Needs and connecting to so many other areas (Writing, Science, Art, Reading, Math, etc.), we are working towards helping those in need through a special classroom charity project by first helping our animal friends get things they might want and most certainly need. We have created mouse houses.

After reading Mousekin's Golden House, planning and sketching a design, collecting natural materials, researching potential animal tenants, measuring and comparing mouse house models (shoe boxes), and doing various writing activities surrounding the project, today was the day to get artistic and scientific. We created mouse houses aimed at providing them with the wants and needs they can use for the upcoming winter months.

It was great to see the class come up with unique and creative houses, but I really loved hearing the reasoning for their design decisions. From making a door with a ramp "so an older mouse could get in easy" to camouflaging the outside of the box, each house was designed and constructed with hard work, effort, creativity, and focus.

After the houses were built, we filled them with natural materials. From grass and seed bedding to rocks to keep the house sturdy, each student had interesting ways to practice their interior decorating. Students were also given  an ear of corn and a small cup of bird seed to help make their self-proclaimed "mouse mansions" even more attractive to potential animal tenants.

Then it was off to the woods for the ever-important mouse house placement. Some students chose to give their mouse house a very large lot lot size while others made small mouse neighborhoods.

I look forward to checking in our mouse houses over the next few weeks and seeing how the class reacts, adjusts, and learns from what we find.

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