What is the Big Zoo Lesson?
The Big Zoo Lesson is a five day field lesson, using Potter Park Zoo as our classroom. We will leave by bus from Donley each morning around 9 am. We will be spending the day doing in-depth, real world learning about animals, exhibits, and zoos. We will leave Potter Park Zoo at 3 pm each day, and be back at Donley in time for regular dismissal.
Students will have the opportunity to study one animal in great detail, spending an hour observing that animal each day. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in multiple docent and teacher-led lessons, as well as chat with zookeepers and zoo personnel.
What will my child need for the Big Zoo Lesson?
Students will need a lunch (home or school), a water bottle, and a pair of slippers. We ask students to bring slippers to wear while we are in the Educational Center at the zoo and limit the amount of things tracked in from the zoo. Students also need to get a good night's sleep, be ready to work hard, and show Donley PRIDE. This is the longest, most exhausting, and most exciting week of the year!
Please do not send your child with a bag. Students will not be allowed or need to take backpacks with them to the Zoo because there is nowhere to store them.
Will my child each lunch at the zoo?
We will be eating lunch each day at the zoo. Your third grader has two choices:
- Home Lunch - You can pack your child a lunch and send it with them. We will have a big bin to carry home lunches back and forth from the zoo each day.
- School Lunch - You may also choose to order your child a sack lunch from school. You can choose each day from one of two choices and the school will make a lunch for your child. Your lunch account will be debited the normal lunch price. Please see the lunch order form below.
How does this field trip relate to the third grade curriculum?
Our Life Science unit in third grade is all about animals. We focus on the adaptations that animals have that allow them to survive in their habitat and be classified into different animal groupings. All of our work and activities during the Big Zoo Lesson are focused on students deepening their understanding of animals and their adaptations. This field lesson provides an authentic, real-world experience for students to serve as an anchor for this learning. You can check out the Michigan 3rd Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs) for specific objectives.
How much does the Big Zoo Lesson cost?
The cost for the Big Zoo Lesson is $35 / student. Most of that cost ($30) goes to Potter Park Zoo. The rest of the money ($5) goes to cover the cost of busing students from Donley to Potter Park Zoo and back. Scholarships are available for those who need them. Please pay what you can, and we will work to obtain a scholarship to pay for the rest.
What if the weather is bad?
We will be going to Potter Park each day, regardless of the weather. SO, please keep an eye on the weather report and make sure that your child is dressed appropriately. If there is rain in the forecast, we will make ponchos out of heavy trash bags and carry our journals in plastic bags.
How can I help?
We need volunteers. The more parents and family members we have, the better the experience will be for the students. If you are unable to volunteer, please try to recruit some family members to join us. Below is a link to an editable Google spreadsheet where you can sign up to help out. Please type the family member or student name in the box that corresponds with the day and time that you are able to volunteer.
Link to the Sign Up form: http://bit.ly/1FNwctc
Please make sure that you (or any volunteer) fill out the East Lansing Volunteer form. We will need a copy of your driver's license.
We are also in need of donations of 2 gallon ziploc bags and snacks. Snacks need to be nut free and individually packaged for students. Thanks!
What will I do as a volunteer?
Our parent volunteers help in a variety of different ways. The biggest role for parent volunteers is to work with and model learning during the one hour animal observation. Parents will take a small group (3-6) students to their observation animal and work with them during the observation time. Parents also help out with lunch, monitoring bathroom breaks, carrying supplies, and much more. The more parents we have, the more groups we are able to divide students into, which provides a better experience and opportunity for learning for every student.
Will I be able to work with my own child?
We try our best to give you the opportunity to work with and experience this lesson with your own child. If we have more than one parent from the same animal observation group, we ask parents to share two groups and switch after about a half hour. If you are planning to volunteer on multiple days (YES!), then we might ask you to work with a different group of students after you've had the chance to work with your own child.
Can I bring my younger children?
In order to make sure that our third graders are getting the most of their experience, we ask that you do NOT bring younger siblings to the zoo. If you have no other choice, you may bring them, but we will not assign you to monitor a student group. Younger siblings often have more needs to address, and therefore, may take you away from the students or force you to take students away from their work.