I'm from the good ole state of Kansas and Kansas Day is next Tuesday. I think it's 152 years of statehood for us. So our grade level team decided to do a couple things in honor of that.
First, we had the zoo come visit our school. I've mentioned before on my blog that we have a wonderful zoo for our medium sized city. The great part is they have this outreach program, so they come visit the school and it doesn't count as a field trip! Wahoo!! So the zoo gal came and brought a couple animals. One was our state amphibian - the barred tiger salamander.
She pulled this guy out of the cooler (they carry the animals around in a cooler) and was talking about him. Meanwhile, he's swishing his tail to beat the band. After she had talked about him a bit, we got to touch him. They use the two finger touch system, and we had to wet our fingers first. Let me tell you, they are SLIMY little creatures. Gross! (Not that I let any kids know I thought that :)
Then one of my sweeties asked a question. Why do his eyes bug out? And the zoo gal said that was the best question anyone had asked so far. And she proceeded to tell us that when they have something in their mouth, the salamander pulls his eyes in (toward his mouth) to help crush whatever he's eating (like an insect) and push it down toward his stomach. His eyes are kind of like our tongue. Umm, double gross, but fascinating!
Next, she got out our state reptile - the ornate box turtle.
This was kind of interesting - as soon as she pulled him out of his container, he was trying to bite her and swipe at her with his front legs. But his back legs were pulled all the way into his shell. She said he has a hinged shell, so when he pulls himself in, he can be all contained. Other turtle just pull themselves in and hope to hide their softer parts. Didn't know that either. We got to touch the box turtle - that was quite mild to this teacher - especially compared to the salamander.
Now, the rather funny thing. Last year, we tried to have the zoo come out around Kansas Day, but we called too late and they couldn't come. But they did have a biofact tub that I checked out and was able to show the kids some animal pelts, bones, and a turtle shell, among other thing. When I got that tub home and opened it up, there was a fox pelt, complete with legs and everything. It was just too much for me. I couldn't stand to handle it and I didn't share it with the kids. Just a little too realistic - or reminiscent - of the real thing. Well, guess what was the first thing she pulled out of her biofacts tub. Yup, a fox pelt. Not as bothersome when she's holding it, I'll tell you. She also had an otter pelt, a coyote pelt and two skunk pelts.
Man, I was going to tell you about tomorrow's activities - but this is longer than my arm as it is. I'll share over the weekend.
Doing the happy dance because tomorrow is Friday! Are you too?