Saturday, May 18, 2013

Take a virtual field trip to the rainforest! :)

This is my first year to ever really get deep into a unit about the rainforest.  I have loved every minute of it!!  We borrowed a lot of books from the library, used Google Images to look at some wonderful photos of the rainforests.  We've learned where they're located and what types of animals they hold.  Did you know that rainforests cover 6% of the earth's land but hold more than 50% of world's plants and animals?  I'm not sure the kids really understood that staggering statistic, but it's fascinating! 
Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia

Our favorite activity thus far has been going on a virtual field trip to the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia.  Click the picture above to visit their website.  If you have an iPad, download the app (Taronga Zoo, Rainforest Heroes) from iTunes and give you & your kiddos about an hour to spend on your virtual trip.  The app is intended to be a companion to an actual visit to the zoo, but a virtual visit is the next best thing.  If you think your kiddos won't sit that long, trust me!   Mine were actively engaged the entire time and couldn't wait to go on their own self-guided trip during learning stations.

 
 
You start out with a quick introduction from the zoo keeper and then you get to enter the name of your team.  You even get to take a picture of your team which is then included in your final "report" (a PDF file you can email to yourself at the end of the trip).  If you're a lucky soul who happens to actually BE at the Taronga Zoo, this is where you'll say, "Yes, I'm at the zoo!" 
 
After you get set up, you'll spend a few minutes learning about how it works.  You're on a timed mission, following a map, watching wonderful videos of each animal at the exhibit, you get to choose photos to include in your final report, there's a puzzle to solve, a report to fill out, you earn points, and at the end there's a little surprise game.
 
I'm telling you, the Munchkins LOVED this completely FREE virtual field trip and we learned so much about how to protect the rainforest creatures, how deforestation has eliminated their homes, how poaching has impacted this incredible habitat, and so much more.
 
You really have to check it out if you're doing a rainforest unit with your kiddos.  If you're in the neighborhood of the Sydney Zoo, I'm completely jealous and want to live vicariously through you.
 
Map from the Rainforest Heroes iPad app once we'd finished visiting all the animals. (This information, including text and photographs, is ©NSW Department of Education and Communities.)
This is a sample from the 12 page PDF file that was available at the end of the mission.  The conservation information is what the kdidos were able to add themselves after reading all about the Langur.  I copied this file and sent it home with each child after our trip.  They were terribly excited and eager to see their input in print.  (This information, including text and photographs, is ©NSW Department of Education and Communities.)
 
Thanks for the visit! 
 
 

 





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