I Wonder What is Inside the Antler

As we sat in our morning meeting recalling information from the day before, one child asked, “How do you cut antlers?”  So, she set out to find the answer.  She remembered that a parent had brought in a pair of antlers and asked to see one.  She carefully examined the antler looking for any hints on the antler.  She then asked to use the computer so that she could Google the information.  She did not find the answer she was looking for but discovered something more interesting.

With the teacher’s help, she read through a few websites before she learned that antlers are filled with a porous material that is “discarded” when preserving antlers.  “What is porous?” she asked the teacher.  The teacher reminded her about the class’s previous study of bones.  She then chose to look at one of the books about deer that the class had selected from the library.  She noticed that the deer used there antlers to scrap the trees.  She thought that this was “cool”.  She wanted to bring the information back to the class but created a pair of antlers for herself before sitting in front of the class.

 As she talked to the class about what she discovered, she asked the teacher to read what she had written from one of the websites.  The students began to buzz with conversation about the word “porous.”  The class talked about how antlers were filled with tiny holes.  The conversation began to shift to how do we get antlers.  Preston said that the deer must be hurt for humans to get antlers.  Alex said, “Maybe they find them in the grass.”

So after lunch, there were several stations set up to help the children explore and expand their knowledge of antlers.  One table contained the antlers that Jaylin had created.  The students were given rulers and asked to make discoveries about the antlers. They learned that one of Jaylin’s antlers were 4 1/2 inches; this was no where near the length that Isela had researched previously. Another table contained paper, tape, pencils, and black markers.  The students were being given an opportunity to make sense of the information they learned through the use of these materials.The students began to draw forest scenes with deer.  One of the students began to tear tape from the roll and placed it on the paper.  First she chose to add blue tape as she recalled that deers drink from brooks.  She smiled as she discussed the book we had read as a class about White Tailed Deer.  She then began to add green tape and then yellow.  Soon the picture began to develop into something amazing.   Some of the other students were so inspired that many of them joined in. Another area contained an overhead projector and markers.  The students quickly began to draw.First they drew this.  They began to tell the teacher how the antlers were porous and that this was the inside of the antlers.Then they began to fill in the space around the antler with red and blue.  The teacher asked them why did they choose those colors.  They recalled how Preston said that the deer must be hurt in order for humans to have antlers, so the red would represent the hurt deer and the blue was the air.  This activity accomplish the following learning goals:

*  The student develops abilities to ask questions and seek answers in classroom and outdoor investigations. The student is expected to:

(A)  ask questions about organisms, objects, and events observed in the natural world;

(B)  plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations such as ways objects move

*  The student is expected to measure and compare organisms and objects using non-standard units.

*  The student is expected to investigate how the external characteristics of an animal are related to where it lives, how it moves, and what it eats.


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