For the past two weeks we have had a Texas Critters Discovery Trunk in our room that was sent to us from The Texas Wildlife Association. The trunk contained pelts and skulls of a white tailed deer and a raccoon, skulls and feet of a red-tailed hawk and a wild turkey, books, rubbing plates, and a newsletter for each student. We had a lot of fun exploring the trunk and learning about native animals of Texas.
|skulls and feet|
|bird calls and replicas of an Armadillo and Texas Horned Toad|
The students had fun with the rubbing plates and used the books in the trunk to identify the animals by their footprints.
I found out about the trunk through Connect2Texas - a great resource for educators:
Connect2Texas is a network of Texas-based educational content providers including museums, cultural, historical, and scientific organizations, and authors. These providers utilize interactive videoconferencing to connect to schools and deliver live educational programs and professional development to school children and educators around Texas and across the country. Bring the scientists, experts, and authors directly to your students without leaving the classroom! connect2texas.net
The Texas Wildlife Association is just one of the many program providers. We did a live video-conference with them and learned about nocturnal animals. We also participated in "So You Think You Saw What Happened" by The Amon Carter Museum. The Perot Museum visited our school and did a live presentation called "Fire and Ice".
Originally, I contacted the Perot Museum about doing a video-conference presentation, but then I learned about their scholarship program and was able to bring them to our school for a reduced cost. Other Connect2Texas providers that have scholarships available to pay for distance learning programs include The Amon Carter Museum, Texas Cowgirl Museum, and the Fort Worth Zoo.
Some of the programs have fees, but there are many that are free. The discovery trunk was provided at no charge.
Many schools in Texas cannot afford to send students on fieldtrips. Connect2Texas provides a wide variety of programs that meet state standards (TEKS) and can help you bring the world to your students!
Photo credit: Miller