Sixth graders get a visit from some strange creaturesMar 18, 2021 10:34AM ● By Becky Ginos
CENTERVILLE—It’s not often that an African ball python or an Argentine black and white iguana come to class. But sixth graders at Reading Elementary got to see them up close and personal when the Loveland Planet Aquarium came to visit last week.
“Every year they give an in person field trip,” said teacher Katie Thomas. “We already had the ecosystem as part of our curriculum for the sixth grade. They teach about the animals they bring and it’s more hands on. The kids get so excited to see the animals. It’s really fun for them.”
They focused on invasive species, she said. “The Argentine black and white tegu is invasive all over the world. They have a weird trait called the death roll. It spins its tail and whips it around and draws blood. No other predators know how to deal with that.”
The aquarium also brought a lionfish which is considered an invasive species. “People think it is pretty so they bring it to Florida and put it in their tank,” said Thomas. “Then when it eats all the other fish they let it go in the ocean. All the predators in the area they’re in don’t know how to attack it.”
Thomas said they taught the children about what litter does to animals too. “Litter never decomposes. So when a deer eats grass they eat the plastic.”
Ecosystems are the last unit for science, she said. “We study the solar system, energy and matter and weather. We save ecosystems for last. It gets warmer so we can do more stuff. When we teach it we use graphs about why the deer population and wolf population has gone up or down. The invasive part was really good, especially with all of that. It’s nice to see them learning but still having fun.”