First, we have Beatrix, the Golden Redrump Tarantula. This school year she's grown from a spiderling the size of a dime to the fine young lady she is today (about 2.5" long)! Female tarantulas can live up to 20 years! She might get to see me retire!
Next, there's Peter Parker, the Mexican Fireleg Tarantula. Two years ago he was the size of a dime too! Now he's a healthy 4.5" long! Unfortunately, males only make it around 5 years, so he's already middle-aged!
Here's the most shy member of our class. Augustus, the Emperor Scorpion, is about 5.5" long and loves to take a bath every day.
This is Lucian, our Black Orchid Betta. My kids love to educate people about the fact that he is indeed a betta and not a beta. Betta is the genus of this kind of fish! Not pictured is his tank mate, Linus the Zebra Nerite Snail.
This slick fellow is Weezer, the Crested Gecko. He's super lazy during the day, but he is crazy active at night! I had to prove it to the kids by taking a video of him one night when I went into school to do some work!
This is just a little peek at the queen of the classroom, Nemesis the Corn Snake. She is very curious about the kids, and comes out to say hi anytime someone comes near her tank. She's about a foot and half long, and amazes the kids weekly with her ability to eat things bigger than her head.
The different pets in the room are fun to watch and take care of, but they actually do serve a purpose. In 5th grade in my district we study classification, animal adaptations, life cycles, etc. In the past I've also kept an "Animal Wonder Journal" near their habitats for kids to write questions or observations about the pets for us to research when we have time.
Kids from all over the school often stop by to see them, and this helps build community. Some kids in the school with behavior challenges work to "earn" the privilege of visiting the pets. If noise levels ever get out of hand (like during the seemingly never ending indoor recess days of winter), it's not uncommon for one of my kiddos to pipe up with "Shhhh, everybody...we're going to scare Beatrix and Peter!"
Do any of you have class pets? What kind, and how do they contribute to your classroom?
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