STREAM brings many elements into the classroom through partnerships with local cultural institutions. These partnerships allow students to both visit the wonderful institutions in the Western New York area and have them come into diocesan schools.
Fifth-grade students at Christ the King School in Snyder recently enjoyed such a partnership through the Buffalo Zoo. After studying about the earth's ecosystems and the animals that live within them, students were provided a hands-on experience through a visit to the school by the Zoo Mobile.
The zoo provided three docents, each of whom shared their expertise on a different environment. One provided information and hands-on experiences on a desert ecosystem, another on a deciduous forest ecosystem, and the third on the savanna/grassland. Students got to see and handle animal skins, bones, teeth and other artifacts. The docents provided answers to all the students' questions and explained ways they can help to protect these habitats.
The high point of each discussion was a visit with one of the zoo's animals. A turtle was the first to visit with the children. Next came a vampire bat. Hanging upside down in its clear plastic cage, it provided an opportunity for students to get a close up look at one of God's usually unseen creatures. Finally, the students were able to visit with a large desert lizard. Students said that being able to see the lizard up close, and also being able to touch him, were highlights of the visit.
After interacting with the creatures, students were provided an opportunity to see and touch all the other items the zoo docents brought. Questions were asked and answered, providing a deeper level of knowledge on this most important area of study. Bringing science concepts to life for the students is what STREAM is all about.