by: tscheidler
Monday 4th , 2012
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When I was in second grade, I403 combined two planks of wood, 1 entire newspaper, about 4 square feet of chicken wire, 10 pounds of plaster, and a whole lot of brown and green paint to create the unmistakable mountain habitat of the California Condor.

Yes, it was my second grade animal report that would be the capstone project of my second grade academic year.  I was required to write a five-page paper (hand-written, double-spaced, on wide-ruled paper) that discussed the Condor’s habitat, diet, biological distinctiveness, and geographic location, but I was also required to represent the habitat of the condor as well as the condor itself in some sort of three-dimensional, diorama-like representation.  My parents, of course, were on this odyssey with me and were there to help make sure I passed the second grade.

We did not have the internet.

We did have encyclopedias but they were not very helpful.  We dug through the local public library, the school library, and even the big central library in 404 Pasadena.  We got the info, created the habitat, and may have only confused the majestic California Condor with its cousin, the Egyptian Vulture, on two of the five pages.

We made it through the project, but really, that’s all. We made it through.  Project over.  To this day, I can’t tell you anything I learned about the Condor from that project other than it was called the “California Condor”.

Here at Kidspace, we have a wonderful place called The Nature Exchange.  Many of you and your children have experienced the Nature Exchange as the classroom for one of our many Science Workshops, or as the place where some of our in-house reptiles, like Baldwin the African Ball Python, or Sherman the Eastern Box Turtle, live.  Some of you have also signed up to become traders, having discovered the joy of trading your own natural treasures for points to take home some of ours.

The Nature E405 xchange is all this and more.  Our Nature Exchange is not just a place to peer at natural treasures, it is, itself, a treasure trove.  It is a gathering place for a wealth of information, knowledge, and experience.  The Kidspace Educators you will encounter in the Nature Exchange are there to help you go deeper with your learning.  Their goal is to not only help you gather the information you’re searching for but to help you understand that information and to shape it into experience.  What you learn here will go with you on all your travels and adventures.  They will show you how to identify rocks, minerals, plants, animals, as well as how to create scientific drawings and notes so you can continue your learning well after the adventure ends. 

I remember getting a “B” on my California Condor project (I’m certain it was mostly for effort) and effectively closing the door on my interest in the giant bird. I know that if I had access to the Nature Exchange back then my world would have been opened up to greater adventures, experiences, and possibilities.



Blog Entry by:

Tim Scheidler, Marketing Manager, has been with Kidspace Children's Museum since 2011.  During his time with the museum, Tim has been involved in the Camps program, volunteer coordinating, and educational programming.