Using Live Cams for Animal Research in Kindergarten

Monday, 25 February 2019

While bringing real animals into the classroom can bring about wonder, curiosity and natural learning, it isn't always possible for teachers to do.

Lucky for us technology has opened up a world of animal possibilities via live cams, and there are some advantages to going this route when it comes to animal research.

Using animal live cams for animal research reports and informational writing in kindergarten or first grade.

Here's why!

The Fishbowl Effect

Observation is a very important science process skill for young children to develop and one that can lead to much critical thinking and dialogue.  Gathering the class around a "fishbowl" gets a little crowded and the conversation usually ends up being more about waiting your turn than animal behavior.  Using a live cam, allows the whole class to view the animal at the same time while sharing what they notice and wonder.  Children naturally begin drawing conclusions based on their observations and growing their knowledge with little help from the teacher.  It is inquiry at its best!

Checking In 

In order to draw some accurate conclusions about animals, children need multiple observations over long periods of time.  When animals are brought into the classroom, their time is usually short-lived.  Live cams allow children to "check in" with the animal several times a day, over many weeks.  It's also extremely practical, for busy teachers with an already overloaded day, to be able to view the animal when a few minutes arise, such as during snack time or while waiting for busses.  

Home Sweet Home

When you bring animals into your classroom, you are removing them from their natural habitat and the classroom conditions aren't always best for their wellbeing.  Using a live stream allows children to view the animal in their natural surroundings and learn a great deal about why they live where they do.  Through repeated viewings, they will be able to accurately identify their food source and understand the need for living close to where they eat.  

Video Backup  

When I hatched chicks, I always worried that the hatching would happen overnight or during the weekend.  Many of the live stream resources capture animal highlights such as egg hatching, predator invasions, and feeding times on video so if a "big event" happens during a time when your kiddos aren't watching, they can always catch the replay!  This is different than just watching an animal video on Youtube, because the children have a personal investment in this animal's story and truly care about what happens to it.

Up Close and Personal

There are many animals that children are interested in, that they will never be able to see live, let alone bring into the classroom.  Yet, web cams make getting up close and personal possible!  Your animal options open up to include polar bears, penguins, elephants, pandas, gorillas and many more when you choose to go live stream.

Are You In?

If you are interested in giving it a try, check out Explore, EarthCam, and SanDiego Zoo, which all serve as a "home base" for several animal live cams.  Not all are created equal though, so spend some time reviewing them before sharing with children. 

We began our animal research journey earlier this month using the Decorah Eagle Cam which can be found on the Explore site.  Hoping to share more about this with you in future posts!

Using animal live cams for animal research reports and informational writing in kindergarten or first grade.

In the meantime, TPT is having a sale (yippee!), so all the Ready, Set, Research resources are on sale for the next two days!

Using animal live bald eagle cams for animal research reports and informational writing in kindergarten or first grade.

Thanks for stopping by!  

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