Busy Beavers - Our 3rd Grade Ecologists & Engineers

Our third graders have been busy with their first Science & Engineering project this year in Suzanne Beard's class ⏤ a study of beaver dams and lodges, investigating beaver's unique adaptations. 

To kick things off in this Structures of Life unit, our Associate Teacher Graham came to classes to present information about the beaver's habitat, incredible physical and behavioral adaptions, and engineering skills. Beavers have a lot more than meets the eye, from an extra pair of eyelids for underwater vision, to thick waterproof pelts, to fabulous swimming adaptations such as secondary lips which allow them to swim with a mouth full of timber without swallowing water.

Next, the class studied how beavers create dams and ponds. A watershed with a healthy beaver population will retain water much longer into a dry season, creating critical wetland wildlife habitat and aiding the natural succession of the forest ecosystem. Students learned how conservationists are successfully reintroducing beavers into their native habitats, how this effort benefits stream health and fish spawning and creating gently flowing pools in steep streams.

Finally, students tested their engineering skills and set out to design, plan, and construct their own beaver habitats. They sketched their ideas and gathered natural materials around campus. After hard work with glue guns and paint, the students put the finishing touches on their projects. They then had the opportunity to present their beaver habitats to other lower school grades, providing visitors with their recent learnings while showing off their finished designs. We heard a lot of "beavers have two lips!" and "beavers babies are called 'kids'" across the courtyard this morning. 

Great job, 3rd graders!


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