Chapter 4 is the first observational
practicum wherein students directly study animal populations. Students will
follow and observe animal populations in the local environments of home and
garden. ‘Following and observing’ means that the animal populations are observed
through the entire year, with the goal that students get to know the animal
well. By getting acquainted with the animals in this way, students begin to
understand, and even to feel, that these creatures exist historically in much
the same way as they themselves do.
The first zoology practicum instructs students in how to observe animals, both invertebrates and vertebrates, in their natural environments.
Animal populations are observed using the eleven characteristics set out in the Aspect Framework. What should the students be observing? The answer to that question is: everything that there is to be seen. The observation of the snail Cepaea nemporalis is described as an example. Spreading the observations out over a four-year curriculum makes it possible to pay attention to many different aspects of an animal. The snail population can then be seen through a series of ‘generations’.
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