Bronxville Elementary School third-grade students, who have been studying about the life cycle and natural habitat of crayfish, as well as their structure and specific survival behavior, recently conducted further experiments to enhance their learning.
As part of a Structure of Life unit in Stephanie Kennedy’s and Susan Monaco’s science classes, the students mimicked the natural habitat of crayfish, who live on the bottom of lakes, ponds and streams. They created a comfortable environment for their crayfish in the classroom, placing it in a freshwater container, and worked in small groups to closely examine it.
“It’s a great unit that teaches students respect for all living things,” Kennedy said. “A crayfish is a really exciting animal to have in the classroom, and to learn from and care for.”
The students observed its behavior in certain situations to determine how crayfish adaptations work to help it survive in its natural habitat. They also learned how to safely pick up the crayfish without harming it, identified different parts of its body and determined its gender. As young budding scientists, the students made observations, took notes and drew conclusions about how the crayfish, which has the ability to regenerate its appendages, has evolved over time in order to survive.
“This hands-on piece is just so important for learning,” Kennedy said. “When all of the students’ senses are engaged and they’re able to do, touch, see, feel and even smell, the learning sticks, and they’re so much more interested in learning.”