Armed with a jug of water, a few wooden boards, notepads, and a plan, a unit of PreK detectives worked to uncover what types of creatures are inhabiting the nature trail on the King campus.
Using the water to make mud, the students carefully buried the boards near the nature trail around the Segalas Family Athletic Field. Once the mud was perfectly smooth, they sprinkled birdseed and scattered lettuce leaves on top. This innovative construction served as a “critter tracker,” a device that would preserve the imprints of different species that crossed the mud, allowing students to examine the footprints and unlock the mystery of what types of animals are living in their midst.
“With the PreK program being Reggio-inspired, this project not only allowed the children to have a wonderful sensory experience making mud and observing animal tracks but also allowed them to ask questions about the world around them,” said science teacher Joseph Lener.
“This project is providing them with questions to ponder,” he continued. “Questions like; what animals live on campus; why don't we see them all the time; do these animals live by me too? Their younger minds are developing the skills of observation through exploration and play, and this project allowed them to do just that."
After numerous baiting attempts, the students noticed that the food they left behind was scattered, and there were some disturbances in the mud. Rabbit and squirrel tracks were visible, and birds were detected, though they are so lightweight that their tracks were less conclusive. With animal activity confirmed, the students will continue to check on the "critter tracker" and replace the bait when needed to attract more species.