Bringing Animals Back to Biology
Monday, 08 December 2014
At the start of this year, Boys’ Division Biology teacher Mr Teasdale set up Animal Care Club with the aim of bringing animals back into biology. A group of Sixth Form Biology students selected several different types of animal, which the School then obtained and which pupils have been looking after ever since.
A diverse range of creatures now reside in the Biology department: white mice, cockroaches and stick insects, a snake, and even a bearded dragon!
The Sixth Formers have each taken responsibility for the care of a different animal, under the guidance of Mr Teasdale. In each session, the Sixth Form pupils lead groups of Year 7 boys in cleaning tanks and performing other duties to ensure that all of the animals are comfortable and happy in their homes. As well as showing the boys how to care for different animals, the club also offers opportunities for them to learn more about the specific animals, their needs and habitats, and even some of their special abilities: camouflage in the case of the stick insects, for example, or the hardiness of the cockroaches.
Mr Teasdale is delighted with the club’s popularity. He said, “It’s really taken off – we’ve had good attendance all year. It’s also been beneficial for the animals. Our bearded dragon, Dexter, has eye problems but we’ve found that giving her a weekly bath during the club has helped – she’s a lot more active now. I was a bit worried the animals would be stressed by the club activities, but even the mice seem to be quite happy, running around on their wheel right after the club is finished and not hiding.”
The Animal Care Club has been so successful that Mr Teasdale has been invited to give a presentation about it at the Science on Stage festival in London next summer, as part of the UK delegation. The theme of the festival is “Illuminating Science Education”, and teachers from all over Europe and Canada will be sharing experiments and teaching ideas for science, technology and mathematics at standing, in workshops and on stage. The Animal Care Club was selected after a competitive application process, and has been judged by the UK’s National Steering Committee as one of the country’s best teaching ideas.