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Pre-K, Kinder, 1st

Discovering Nature!

Topic- Living and Non-Living, Forest Discovery, Butterfly Life Cycle

Background/ Summary- This lesson is intended to INTRODUCE a child to nature, and generate an EXCITEMENT about being in it. Each activity is designed to elicit a WOW! That will seed a love for nature at a young age. Students will:
  • Go on a Guided FOREST DISCOVERY WALK to search for animals and understand the basic meaning of a FOREST. (WOWs: being in a forest; encountering rabbits in the under-story)
  • Spot BIRDS, and learn what foods birds eat. (WOWs: spotting colorful birds; learning to recognize birds by calls; holding feathers and understanding how birds fly; seeing birds come eat feed that they just put out.)
  • Learn about animal life cycles in an interactive "BE A BUTTERFLY" lesson (LAUGHTER, EXCITEMENT, SURPRISE: Being covered as an egg; wiggling like a caterpillar; suddenly being covered up in a chrysalis sac; flying and sipping nectar)
  • Visit animals in the DISCOVERY MUSEUM. (WOWs: Seeing the mountain lion, deer, coyote, bobcat, and snake; feeling shells, antlers, skins, etc.)
Grade Level- Kinder & 1st (may be modified for different age groups.)

Setting-

  • Outdoor: Trail Walk (40 minutes); Birding (40 minutes); Be a Butterfly Interactive (40 minutes)

  • Indoor: Discovery Museum (40 minutes)

Location- Quinta Mazatlan, McAllen 600 Sunset Dr.

Contact- Education Supervisor, Carol Goolsby (956) 681-3370

Duration- 2 3/4 hours 9:00- 11:45 a.m. Four 40 minute pods (depending on arrival time). Can be modified to 30 or 35 minute pods to allow for an earlier departure or more than 4 class groups.

Suggested- 4 class groups. (Accommodations may be made for 5 or 6 class groups.)

Condition- Must have a minimum of 10 students.

Reservations- Required in Advance. Dates are confirmed once payment (or P.O.) and reservation form are received.

Activities/Objectives- Students will:

Go on a GUIDED FOREST DISCOVERY WALK to:

  • Learn what makes a "forest" be a forest.
  • Discover forest animals: rabbits, birds, insects, wildcats (statues only)

Learn about BIRDS:

  • Practice spotting birds up close at the amphitheater.
  • Look at feathers and nest and learn what makes a bird be a bird.
  • Learn about what birds eat.

Visit the HANDS-ON DISCOVERY MUSEUM: Students will have an opportunity to see (and in some cases feel) a real mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, tortoise, heron, kingfisher that have been taxidermied. Other nature items will also be available for students to touch and explore with magnifying glasses. (During this pod, students may also choose to visit the gift shop or do a nature craft.)

BE A BUTTERFLY INTERACTIVE:

  • Learn what a butterfly's life is like by BECOMING ONE. Students will start by role-playing the egg stage, then move onto their bellies and "eat like a caterpillar", then pupate inside a "chrysalis" sac, then emerge and put on wings to fly to find nectar to drink.
  • When in season, students will also be able to hold a live caterpillar and see butterflies in chrysalis stages.
  • Next to the class will learn about the connection between insects and "native plants", and make a flower armband.
Key Terms-

Forest- A large area mostly covered by trees and under story plants.

POND- A small body of still water, usually smaller than a lake.

CACTUS- A plant that stores up water because it lives in a dry region, and often has SPINES.

LIFE CYCLE- The different stages of life that an animal goes through from when it is born to when it dies.

CARNIVORE- Animals that eat other animals.

HERBIVORE- Animals that eat plants.

OMNIVORE: Animals that each both plants and animals.

PREDATOR: An animal that must capture and eat another animal for food.

MAMMAL- A warm blooded vertebrate (animal with a backbone) that has hair, secretes milk for its young, and gives birth to live young.

BIRD- An animal that has FEATHERS and LAYS EGGS.

REPTILES- A cold-blooded vertebrate (animal with a backbone) that has scales.

Modification- During rain or inclement weather:

  • Trail walk will continue using umbrellas if possible. When not possible, the children will be taken into the Visitor Area to watch a movie that shows what the forest is like.
  • The Birding Pod will move into the cottage where they will still learn about bird through pictures, sounds, bird guide books, beaks, feathers, and other simple bird games, such as "Eat Like A Bird".
  • The Butterfly Life Cycle will move indoors and proceed the same. Flowers will be collected ahead of time for children to make their plants bands in the Discovery Lab.
  • The museum and craft pod will proceed as planned.
Review-
  • What did you learn and like about the FOREST?
  • Draw and color a BIRD with a beak that will help it eat its food.
  • Identify the four stages of a butterfly's life cycle.
  • Name 5 animals that are "native" to the Rio Grande Valley.





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Quinta Mazatlan

600 Sunset Drive
McAllen, TX 78504

(956) 681-3370

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