Friday, 9 March 2012

Lab session at the pet store

This week's science lesson required that Tiger observe a few small, live animals to compare and contrast their characteristics.  Armed with the record sheet, we headed to the pet store in town.

Since we are still studying vertebrate, we concentrated our observations on this group of animals.  The pet store is quite sizeable, so we were able to spend an hour there for our "lab" to look closely at three out of the five vertebrate groups: reptiles, mammals, and fish.

Bearded dragons


Guinea pigs

Prior to this lesson, I had taken for granted the observational skills required to look closely at things and to translate what we see into descriptive words.  This lesson gave us a good reminder of this very important scientific skill.

During the lesson, Tiger was challenged to take his observations further by thinking of the following questions:
  • Both rabbits and guinea pigs are furry, but is there any difference in their fur?
  • Fish don't have legs so how do they move along in the water?  Would legs be useful for an animal that lives in water all the time?
  • All the animals we saw, apart from fish, have four legs.  How are the positions of their legs different, and why are they positioned as such?  How does that affect the animal's movement?  Why is it necessary for that animal to move in that way?
  • Where are the animal's eyes positioned?  Why are they positioned as such?  Does the position affect their roles as either prey or predator?

This post is linked up to several blog hops, where you can visit to see what other homeschoolers have been busy with.  It is also linked to the Carnival of Homeschooling: The Balloon Dog Lessons edition.


  1. I love that you used the pet store as your lab! What a great - and "real world" experience! I'm a new follower!

  2. Wonderful questions about the different animals. I'm not sure I can answer all of them without looking at some animals--the point I know!

  3. I always love pet stores as field trips, there's so much to learn there!

  4. What a great idea, we haven't been to a pet store for ages. Thanks for linking to Science sparks xx

  5. Such a simple outing with so many rich observations! I like your probing questions!


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