KidsTek Instructor Adam Mikulis created and led a lesson plan this spring to incorporate online research, science and handwriting to a group of very young K-2nd students at Colfax Elementary School.
In creating the lesson, Adam shared that he created a physical worksheet inspired by the fact sheets zoos typically display outside of the animal habitats. “I wanted to help the kids make the connection between online research and real-world application,” Adam said. “It helped give them context which I think is important for learning because it teaches “why,” which helps to intrinsically motivate students and make school more than just a memorization game.”
To pique their interest, each student was able to choose an animal of their choice (living or extinct) to learn more about. The most popular animal choices included the cheetah, saber-toothed tiger and Tyrannosaurus Rex. By following the worksheet Adam created for the class, the students had to identify their animal’s classification, average size, and habitat, which were mostly new concepts to these young students.
“It was interesting to watch them learn about the animals’ locations and habitats, which helped teach them about geography as well,” Adam shared after class. “And while some were reluctant to try to draw their animal at first, it was great to see the effort that the students put into the project and the results made a fun display.”
At the end of the lesson, Adam added each animal to the “zoo” on the classroom whiteboard so students could learn about all the animals their classmates researched. One student asked if the zoo could stay in the class so her teacher could see it the next day, which was a great reminder of how rewarding it is for students to share and celebrate their hard work in the program.