Conserve School hosted fourth-grade classes from Eagle River, WI Elementary School on Septemeber 26-27 to explore Lowenwood and learn about animal adaptations. Their overnight visit began in the morning with a tour of campus, followed by team skill-building group games on the soccer field. After lunch, they played a game of predator and prey, which is part of the Conserve School science curriculum. In this educational game of tag, students role-played herbivores, omnivores or carnivores. Their mission was to locate the hidden stashes of food and water in the forest and "survive." The game got interesting when two teachers role-played as trophy hunters and began tagging the carnivore students!
After dinner, the fourth graders were treated to a night hike and enjoyed a campfire and s'mores. Just like Conserve School students, lights out in the dorms was 10:00 PM. The next morning the young students explored how different animals use and make habitats to adapt to their surroundings. They found out which macroinvertebrates live in Little Donahue Lake, they built shelters like animals in the fall preparing for winter, and they used their “binocular eyes” to find their classmates hidden in the woods. ("Binocular eyes" is a form of animal adaptation. Predators have eyes in the front to help them hunt, and prey have eyes on the side to help them hide. Having two forward-facing eyes give predator animals binocular vision, which helps with depth perception.)
To reflect on their trip, the students then made leaf rubbings, nature drawings, landscape paintings, and composed a group poem about their experience. Overall, it was energizing and exciting for the Conserve staff and semester students to have younger students enjoying the campus. Many of the semester students, who are high schoolers, made time to sit with and talk with the younger fourth-grade visitors to campus.
Photos contributed by Stefan Anderson and Jennifer Anderson.
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