The zoo is our summer staple. It is the place to go when we have a few free hours. This trip to the zoo happened like most of our trips there, on an impulse. We will probably be back to the zoo in a few weeks with several of our friends, but this trip only included my son (10), daughter (8) and me (Would you believe that I’m 21?). When planning this field trip, I had so many ideas on how to make it fun and meaningful; I had a hard time picking out my favorite thing to do there. I decided to go with the one that centered on animals; after all, we were going to a zoo! Webbing the zoo seemed like the best plan!
This particular field trip is better suited for my older kids due to the writing involved. If I were going to take younger children, I would have an adult write down what the child describes. Webbing is not only a fantastic way to organize information but also a good way to compare the different animals we saw. I printed out a few organizational webs and off we went. The kids and I took the time to actually LEARN about a few of the animals. I didn’t want to overwhelm them, so I only gave each child four webs. They would describe each animal’s appearance, habitat, and diet and tell one interesting fact about it.
Most of the information was available just by looking at the animal. It was easy to describe the habitat, appearance, and sometimes an interesting fact. The diet of the animal was sometimes a little tricky. My children had to READ the little information plaques by the exhibits. (GASP!!) They were so happy to see that the fruit bats had bananas in their exhibits because they didn’t have to read anything to find out what they ate.
On the way home, they were reading their webs to me. I took that teachable moment to explain how we could write an essay on each of the animals. Each part of the web would be its own paragraph. We would just have to do research to find out more details to use for supporting sentences. To that my daughter replied, “Mom, can we just turn the radio on?” Sigh, at least I tried!!