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Webcams in the Classroom: Animal Inquiry and Observation

Can’t make it to a zoo? Observe animal habits and habitats using one of the many webcams broadcasting from zoos and aquariums around the United States and the world in this inquiry-based activity that focuses on observation logs, class discussion, questioning, and research. Students begin by viewing an animal webcam, making observations, and describing what they see in a notebook or log. This process is first modeled by the teacher to prepare students for recording their own observations. Thereafter, students make observations on a predetermined schedule and share them with the class. After a class discussion, students then resolve questions that are raised about what they’ve observed by consulting a variety of sources. While this lesson is written with a focus on webcams, students could easily complete similar activities by observing a classroom pet, animals at home or the zoo, or a birdfeeder or squirrel feeder outside the classroom window.

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