Thursday, December 3, 2015

St. Louis Zoo

Fire Salamander, Lizard, Nature, Animals  Yesterday, my students went on a virtual field trip where they learned about the mathematics used by the zoo.  In addition, they saw some animals they'd never heard of.

For instance, the first animal they learned about was the Hellbender which is a salamander found in Missouri.  Its also known as the snot otter and a few other names.  Aside from learning about the animal, my students learned that hellbenders born in the wild only had a 5 to 10% survival rate while those born in captivity had a 75 to 90% survival rate.  It took the zoo 20 years to determine these figures.

Another animal, they got to check out was a Capybara which is the worlds largest rodent.  It can grow up to 150lbs.  The pharmaceutical math they learned in this section required them to figure  out the dosage for an 85 pound animal. It was great  because the medication was a ratio using kilograms so students had to convert from pounds to kilograms and then use a ratio to finish calculating the dosage. Since the medicine came in 7.5 mg or 15 mg, the students had to figure out how many of which tablet they were going to use.  In addition, they had to calculate the liquid dose.

The last examples was great. The students saw the data in table form for four baby hedgehogs and they saw the same data shown in several lines on one graph.  They learned that the lines indicated the animals were all healthy and gaining weight regularly.  In addition, the female hedgehogs gained less weight than the males.  It was great because she had a live hedgehog to show the kids.  It turns out the creature is nocturnal and has developed a great sense of smell to compensate for the lack of vision.

I've got another virtual field trip scheduled for next week so the students can learn more about probability.