After two months of exploring the Long Island Sound ecosystem, Grade 2 students presented the results of their research to their lower school peers.
The project began with a visit to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, where students chose an animal of interest that was also native to the Sound. They set out to answer the central question of how animals survive in their habitat. Using articles, videos, images, and texts as research tools, students collected data on their chosen animal’s diet, physical traits, environment, offspring, and predators.
Students brought their research into art class, creating clay dioramas featuring the animals, which they later presented along with written reports. The multifaceted nature of the project facilitated deep learning that resonated intellectually while allowing students to engage with the subjects in a fun and engaging way.
“I liked doing all of the sculpting,” said Cece Bellmare '33, about her diorama, which featured harbor seals.
Harrison Burke '33 demonstrated how he utilized the Britannica School app on an iPad to research lemon sharks. “It actually shows a picture of a lemon and also lemon sharks,” he said with a chuckle.
Throughout the project, teachers taught students to use nonfiction texts, skim for specific information, use scientific vocabulary and informational writing, and take notes.
Grade 2 teacher Aman Samra noted the lesson’s significant impact on the students.
“They were excited to do hands-on work, eager to read nonfiction books, and curious about their animals,” she recalled. “Many of them went beyond the guidelines of the project, driven by their own curiosity and desire to learn more.”