Animal Research Project #1


Smithsonian’s Insects Are All Around Us

Animal research has got to be one of the more fun aspects of elementary education.  I still remember a book I made on blue whales and another on the African black rhino.  Back then there was no internet (SHOCKING!) and I suppose we looked up our information in…..books?  These days research is a bit easier to break into at a young age.  With a computer you can tap in to music clips, videos, and endless animal facts.  It’s amazing and extremely engaging for the younger set.

When I told my daughter that she could choose an animal to learn about I pulled out a good selection of books on animals.  Surely, I thought, there will be something in here that she’ll like.img_6773

She surprised me by telling me right away that she already knew her animal. ” Of course,” she told me,” I’m going to do the velvet ant.”  The velvet what??

“You know,” she said, “it’s the V bug in the book Insects Are All Around Us.” Oh, right.  Maybe I should take a look at that.  I often feel schooled by my five year old.  I guess I should get used to it.

We read a great internet article on the Velvet Ant that was full of photographs, we made a model out of recyclables which turned out more like a ladybug (it happens), and she made a presentation poster.

When an adult friend stopped by our house last night my daughter was so amped up to share what she had learned that she couldn’t help herself.  She marched her right over to the poster and yammered on and on. Our poor guest:)

I really like the idea of animal research projects because 1) the kids are already motivated to learn about animals, 2) it is easy to incorporate the elements of drawing and writing along with the research and 3) they have some kind of finished product to share which keeps them thinking about the project after it is over.


The velvet ant that looks like a ladybug.


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