With clear blue skies above and the warmth of the sun on their shoulders, the third grade boys, along with Ms. Coleman, Mr. Katz '04, Ms. Kehoe and Ms. Seto, took a field excursion to Black Rock Forest to coincide with their unit on insects and spiders. Having previously visited the forest on a fall trip in second grade, the boys were excited to explore again and experience the forest in a different season.
Ms. Seto reports: The day began with a refreshing hike, where the students spent time learning about sunfish territories, traversing rocky creeks, sharing observations, dodging millipedes, spotting late spring flowers, and enjoying a beautiful vista on a rock outcropping. A Pileated Woodpecker was even spotted flying away from the group! In a shady area of the forest, the students conducted surveys for invertebrates in one-square-meter plots. Students searched for critters in the leaf litter, in decomposing logs, in the soil, and in a diversity of spider webs. Each new species was greeted with excitement, curiosity and respect. Among other taxa, the students observed millipedes, salamanders, caterpillars, beetles, harvestmen, and numerous spiders, including a wolf spider carrying her egg sac. The students treated their live specimens with care during magnified observations in jars and Petri dishes, and respectfully returned all their study subjects back to their natural habitat.
From beginning to end, the third grade students were immersed in the world of insects, spiders and all their relatives, bringing lively observations and true curiosity to Black Rock Forest.