Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Case of Multiplication

Math was never my strong suit - in school I much preferred reading and writing to 'rithmatic. When I was with the kids from Blair Elementary School in Waukesha on Friday for my after-school program visit, many of them felt the same way. Of the 10 kids present, only 3 raised their hands when I asked if they like math.

However, I brought along a math problem for us to work on together, and we all found it much more enjoyable and informative than math usually is. ASPCA has a website for kids called Animal Land. It has a ton of fun resources to educate kinds about animals -- cartoons, news stories and activity sheets are just a few of it's offerings.

Friday I used one of the activity sheets entitled Rabbits, Rabbits and More Rabbits to give the kids a frame of reference as to what can happen if an unspayed female animal is allowed to breed. After a year and 3 months you end up with 100 rabbits. While this is a great biological mechanism for a wild bunny where the survival rate is extremely low, this is a disaster for a pet.

I knew that some of the kids would get it after my presentation and discussion, but I was really impressed that most of them really understood the ramifications of over-population and not spaying or neutering. Before we did the math problem Joseph had said, "But what if you want to breed your pet?". And afterward when we were talking about how to take care of 100 bunnies and probably not being able to find homes for them all I could tell he was re-thinking his original question.

Activities like this are so simple to do, and yet open up a wonderful avenue for discussion with kids. Not only did we talk about spaying and neutering pets, but also about what makes a good breeder, the fact that just because animals are cute doesn't mean that they are healthy enough to be bred, and gave me a chance to review what HAWS is and why we take in animals.
And as always, the best part of the visit was the animal I brought - a rabbit of course. Beauty charmed the kids and had a blast trying to figure out ways to break out of the circle of kids. She was able to explore quite a bit of the library while performing evasive manuevers in the meantime.
I know meeting Beauty was the kid's favorite part of my visit, but I'm hopeful they will remember our math problem as they grow older and get pets of their own.

1 comment:

Lagomorph said...

Excellent lesson!! I am guessing Beauty thought she was in rabbit heaven-a room full of books to pull off shelves, chew and shredd!!
And lots of space to run the bunny 500.