Written by Kimi Hosoume and Jacqueline
Mmmmmm, DIRT. Terrarium Habitats springboards from youngsters'
fascination with the stuff to explore the denizens, constituents,
and properties of soilan element we take for granted, but
which provides everything from habitat to nutrients essential
to the life cycle. The activities in this guide bring this hidden
world up close, deepening student understanding of and connection
to all living things.
Teams of students design and construct terrariums for the classroom,
creating micro-environments that unfold and change over time.
The guide includes concise and interesting biological information
on a number of possible small organisms (sow bugs, isopods, earthworms,
snails...) that can become terrarium inhabitants. Students observe
these and other terrarium components and record changes over time.
There are detailed instructions on setting up and maintaining
the terrariums. Special features include an optional soil-profile
test for older students, and making "decomposition bags"
to learn more about the natural life cycle.
This unit makes a great, earthy complement to the GEMS guide
Ant Homes Under the Ground.
Praise for Terrarium Habitats
"If exposing children to little animals early in their lives
is a way to encourage a lifelong love of nature, then the GEMS
teacher's guide Terrarium Habitats is a must for teachers
of K-6. It is full of good information linking Earth science goals
with life science goals. As with every GEMS Guide, the information
is straightforward, easy to read, easy to prep for, and builds
upon the previous activity's outcome. There is no need to worry
whether or not the experiment will work because GEMS Guides are
tried and true
Hopefully, these early childhood connections
will help to build a nation of thoughtful adults who respect every
creature's right to live in the world."
National Science Teachers
"Terrarium Habitats takes you subsurface, to the
underground cycles of decomposition, plant uptake, and animal
harvest. Each chapter builds on its predecessors...lets kids aged
five to eleven catch their learning-curve breaths. You get a snapshot
of your mandate for every activity with clear illustrations and
Whole Earth, Spring 1999
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