The Wilderness Science Center Study
By Natalie White

1st Grade Lesson

For the last week I’ve been observing/working with a first grade lesson that teaches them about the different types of invertebrates and vertebrates. At first, they learn about the spinal cord (backbone) and the roles it plays through out our body. Next, they figure out what time of animals are warm and cold blooded.
Then, we explain the directions to the activity they’re going to do.

Each group walks over to a specific table, which as clues as to what kind of animal it is (amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals, and reptiles). After they’ve gathered clues from their adult, they circle what they think and then rotate to the next table.

Kindergarten Lesson

With Kindergarteners, this is there first time coming to the WCS. In order for them to have a great experience their first time, we teach them about the cutest things, animals.
The students enter and they sit in their seat. We give one-two kids a card which has a native animal of Kansas of it. The students figure out what kind of animal they are assigned and when it is their turn, they go to the front and talk about their animal. Animals that are not commonly know to kids this young are taught with having them activity move and show the characteristic of that certain animal. Once they’re done learning about the animals, we get animals skins out to everyone. Each kid find their own animals that they were assigned and sits by it. Next, they can go around and touch/observe all the animals that they’ve learned.
At the very end of the lesson, once all the furs are put away, we teach them the Habitat Song. The Habitat songs consist of a very catchy tune about certain animals living in certain habitats. Even older students who come to the WSC remember and still want to sing this song .


c1 c2 c3Over the semester I’ve been going out on the property and finding plants and leaves to make for my herbarium. Once I had a good enough number, I started to identify them using Kansas plant book or the internet. I glued the plants and ID cards to a white piece of paper and then laminated them. Now they’re hung up in one of the WCS classrooms for students to see.


Today I helped teach part of a lesson for a second grade class. I’ve observed the lesson many times before so I was pretty confident is teaching this time. The lesson begins with the kids singing a song called, “Dirt Made My Lunch.” I like the song because it’s a silly song about how important soil is to not only wild animals, but humans as well. Afterwards, I started asking them why soil and how is soil important due to the examples in the song. Next I told them that we were going to make soil, so that it can be used at the WCS. The kids were excited so I had to explain to them how it was going to be made using an example chocolate chip cookie recipe.
“In order for us to make soil we have to follow the directions and have each measurement exact, just like when we make chocolate chip cookies.”

Setting Out Traps

Today I went out on the property and set out two sherman traps. I put food that we usually feed the animals with for bait and then some beding in their in case they get to cold. One I placed in near the wetland under all the blown over dead plants. The other I put in the prairie under a deer bed. Hopefully, I’ll catch something and be able to identify it!

This Little Guy!

A couple weeks ago I set out a sherman trap to catch an animals that had escaped. Instead, last night something had found it’s way into the trap. Mr. Spake told me to take a look at it and see if I could identify it. I was scared to open it because I had no idea how big or what could be in there. I opened it and it was a little mouse. I got out the mammal guide books and identified him as a deer mouse, which was correct.

Deer Mouse

4th Grade Soil Lesson

For the last two days I’ve been working with fourth grade classes with their lesson. Their lesson is over the types of solid. My favorite part of the activity is going outside and dividing the class up to dig soil out of the group. We went outside on the property and explained how to pull the soil out of the ground. Since there is different types of soil the kids got to learn and examine what type of soil they were using with in their experiment. Once the soil is out of the group the kids observe it with their group leaders to decide on what kind of soil they’ve found and we go inside and talk about it.