The QUEST Center in Foster Hall transformed into a Louisiana swamp complete with a critter camp and a fishing camp for the Louisiana Creature Feature Showcase of first and third grade work. First graders learned about habitats and the animals that call them home, and third graders learned all about arthropods. The two topics came together in an exciting final display that highlighted weeks of discovery.
Upon entering the QUEST Center, visitors were greeted by students dressed in an array of costumes. There was everything from first grade butterflies and black bears to a third grade saddleback caterpillar and a velvet ant. In front of each creature was a button that visitors pressed to activate the presentation. Once the buttons were pressed, the students shared fun facts about the creatures of their choice. It was obvious just how much the students enjoyed the experience.
“My favorite part was making our sculptures,” says third grader Arlie Bond who was a black widow spider for the occasion. “It was challenging but fun at the same time.”
Classmate Samantha Johnston, who was a daddy long legs, says her favorite part was “making costumes and working on the script.” She also enjoyed “adding details to make it interesting and exciting” like the jumping element she shared.
Across the path, Milo Gutfreund who was a golden silk orb-weaver says he enjoyed making his costume. He chose his creature based on inspiration from a family camping trip to north Louisiana where he observed webs in the sunlight.
It Takes Teamwork to Build a Swamp
Students were not alone in their excitement. Teachers and QUEST Center Coordinator Dr. Elizabeth Lewis were thrilled with the project. The adults point out the tremendous collaboration needed to bring the project to life. The third and first grade teams worked together to create a cohesive presentation. Lower School art teacher Caroline Hagan provided QUEST Center art lessons to help with creating the creature sculptures using recycled materials. Faculty and staff contributed recyclable materials to be transformed into creatures and decorations like cypress knees. Students and families made costumes at home. It was an impressive display of teamwork and community in support of a memorable lesson for students.
The Louisiana Creature Feature project was project-based learning at its best. Over the course of the project, students dissected owl pellets, examined the difference between crawfish and grasshoppers, took a field trip to the Bluebonnet Swamp and toured the Atchafalaya Basin. The final showcase was a fitting celebration for a lesson brimming with exciting learning opportunities.