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Learning in the Natural Habitat Garden

Natural Habitat Garden
Our 1st graders explored in the Schoolyard Habitat Native Garden. The topic today was Pollinators! We read the book Mason Meets a Mason Bee by Dawn Pape. The students enjoyed learning that not all bees are alike and that bees are not the only insects or animal that pollinates. We then used our own proboscis to collect nectar and pollen from some special plants. The kids liked pretending to fly from flower to flower and see the different types of pollen they could collect. Finally, they decorated and modeled their very own native bee mask complete with compound eyes made of bubble wrap and ocelli made of sticker jewels. It was a fun day in the habitat learning about pollinators and native bees. 
NGSS 1st From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
LS1.A Structure and Function, LS1.D Information Processing​
Our 2nd grade classrooms at Anza Elementary explored our Schoolyard Habitat Native Garden to learn about the Oak Woodland and to learn about making observations and paying attention to details like a real scientist. We read the storybook Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek by Marianne Berkes. The story highlighted some of the different animals that live in an oak woodland habitat. I was able to share specimens from the SDNHM of an Acorn Woodpecker and CA Ground Squirrel with the students and because they were featured in the book  the kids were excited to get up close with them (also a scrub jay which was not in the book). After we read our story we had the students look at  engelmann oak acorns as well as coast live oak acorns to see the differences and similarities. Students took a walk around the garden to make more observations as well as to look for tracks and scats or other evidence that we had visitors in the native garden. During one of the rotations the kids were entertained by a red-tailed hawk that was being harassed by a group of crows. The students were given a handout to fill in with weather info as well as a place to write observations about the oak woodland habitat. 
NGSS 2nd Grade Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
LS24-1: Make Observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.