The Year 7 Science unit on Ecosystems allows students to learn about organisms and their habitats, identifying features of different habitats and understanding how organisms impact their habitats and communities. The unit culminates in a trip to the Taipei Zoo which provides an opportunity for students to apply their understanding to real-life examples as well as develop teamwork, communication and planning skills.
Students enjoyed the opportunity to combine their quest for new scientific knowledge with the opportunity to spend some time outdoors in a new environment. Here are some student reflections:
All of the students had booklets that we could fill in to help us understand more while we toured the zoo. Not only did we complete our booklets, but there were also boards next to each animal which had a lot of supplementary information, detailing the descriptions of each animal, as well as their natural behaviour in the wild. There were many fascinating animals such as camels, pandas and penguins, which are not commonly seen across Taiwan. As we made our way around the various enclosures, all of us acquired a deeper understanding of wildlife and even had the opportunity to meet the most endangered animals like rhinos and red pandas.
One of the most entertaining activities was taking a mini train around the zoo where we could watch the animals as well as take videos of them. The apes were very engaging because they acted in a very similar way to us humans. They walked like humans, ate like humans, and behaved like humans! Overall, the zoo was an educational and enjoyable experience, where we could all have the chance to meet the animals in real life and get to know more about their adaptations and habitats.
As we arrived at the Formosan Animal Area, we saw various animals, who were all unique in their own ways, such as the Sika Deer, Formosan Pangolins, and Formosan Black Bear. However, the ones I most adored were the Eurasian Otters. Their cute faces glanced at me as I took a video. Although I have been to the zoo many times, I always long to see these wonderful creatures. They stared with their scrunched-up faces at the visitors. Their eyes grew bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Then in a hurry, they jumped into the water petrified. Aww, I thought to myself as my teammates and I followed Mr. Chow to the Tropical Rainforest Area.
After a short walk, we wandered around the enclosure through wooden pathways. We scribbled down sketches of different animals and their habitats. There were so many special species, like the Tigers, the Mongoose and the Bornean Orangutans. They swung from tree to tree, as we stood there, stunned at their performance. There were also some fascinating facts, for example, I learned that Bengal Tigers have the longest canine teeth of any living cat at four inches long.