"Snap" is a bearded dragon whose natural habitat is the desert. Students in Brandy Shiflett's first-grade class helped the lizard feel at home as they transformed their classroom into a desert.
Another class turned its room into a forest, where students shared facts about a grizzly bear, beaver, tree frogs and other creatures. Down the hall, the temperature dropped as students experienced the Arctic, complete with penguins and polar bears. Other classrooms featured the ocean, rainforest and tropical grasslands. It's all part of an effort to inspire students to explore animal habitats locally and globally.
Each student researched different plants and animals and how they rely on one another in their habitat. Teachers and parents helped the students hang decorations, paint scenery and print posters to bring the habitats to life. Then, classes toured each habitat to share what they have learned.
"Our projects reach many different learning styles by having the students actually be enveloped into the habitats," says Shiflett. "The students are working together as an ecosystem, everyone has a job to do and they depend on each other to get the project done."