Why a Reptile Enclosure can be a useful tool to support your Classroom Curriculum.
Reptile Enclosures are an interesting alternative to traditional animal cages kept in classrooms such as those used for mice or hamsters. Reptile enclosures provide a virtual Animal Planet in your classroom and give your students the opportunity to interact with some of the world?s most unique species.
Live animals of any species are a window into nature and help to showcase how animals live and this can be an invaluable teaching tool. Placing a Reptile Enclosure in your classroom and observing the live reptiles in a naturally landscaped terrarium environment will support your teaching curriculum in a myriad of ways. Some suggestions for assisting your teaching modules are listed below:
* Biology - Your reptile enclosure will quickly become a quick reference point for a host of biology subjects, these may include;
- Movement: use of limbs, how animals move (particularly using 4 legs in unison), flexibility and strength. Reptiles can scurry around quickly so students can observe firsthand movement and balance.
- Skeletal Structure: joints, skull, backbone.
- Internal structure: sensory organs, internal organs, perhaps leading to a discussion on which vital organs all animals share.
- Common features shared by all animals ? movement, respiration, senses, growth, reproduction, excretion, and feeding habits.
- Investigate why reptiles differ to mammals. What are the main differences between cold-blooded and warm blooded animals? Why is heat important to cold-blooded animals?
- Case Study and Observation skills: spend a day observing the reptile at certain intervals taking note of periods of activity and rest and times for feeding. This will help encourage students to become observant budding scientists and to accurately record their observations.
When it comes to Biology, the list of positives for having reptile enclosures in the classroom is endless. Live animals are an inspiration in themselves!
* Taking Responsibility ? Reptile pets require care and living species require and deserve constant attention. Maintaining a Reptile enclosure in the classroom can foster teamwork. Encourage the class to have a roster system for cleaning and feeding duties. This in turn helps groups interact between the sexes and may encourage a shyer member of the class to come forward.
* Reptile Healthcare - this links in appropriately with the "Taking Responsibility" module and reinforces the lessons learned in the importance of cleanliness in the reptile enclosure.
* Reptile Feeding - a good opportunity to delve further into lessons comparing herbivores with carnivores or omnivores. What type of food is required to keep a reptile well nourished? Observation skills will be called upon again to assess which types of food are more popular and what quantities are appropriate.
* Reptile Habitats - the Reptile enclosure can be a focus point for highlighting and researching habitats suitable for different reptile species and can include the climate, temperature and natural surroundings. Providing features within the reptile enclosure from the reptile?s natural home provides a realistic insight into another world that your students will enjoy researching and recreating. Consider using a wide range of natural reptile enclosure decorations such as bamboo roots, real jungle vines, parasite wood and natural beddings to design a fitting reptile enclosure for the species you intend to keep in the classroom.
* Conservation - many reptiles are on endangered species lists around the world. Class research could begin with your reptile and continue with seeking additional information on the more critically scarce species and the conservation efforts underway to protect them.
* Geography - reptiles span the globe and come from a cross-section of continents. Your living classroom reptiles could provide an interesting topic starter in researching their country of origin and run on to other reptiles or mammals from these continents. You can even further focus your research projects on specific habitat types (desert, rainforest, woodland, scrubland, or on a particular country). Again, climate could be a research point as well. Do your reptiles come from a dry climate or a wet humid one? How have reptiles adapted or evolved to cope with these climates?
* Art ? reptiles make great live models. They can stay still for extended periods of time and have amazing scales and skin details which make them ideal art subjects. The features included in your reptile enclosure will also provide great background details. Knotted pieces of wood, twisted vines and tropical mosses are fantastic to draw in any reptile enclosure.
When it comes to inspiration in your classroom, a prominent Reptile enclosure is an ideal teaching tool to stimulate and inspire your students. Encourage your class to assist in the set-up of the reptile enclosure and perhaps the purchase of the reptiles you wish to include. This will promote ?ownership? of their new reptile pets and will become a source of pride in your classroom. Enjoy!