Irvington’s Dows Lane First Graders Build Food Supply Defenses  

Irvington’s Dows Lane Elementary School first graders recently built food supply defense structures as part of their science studies.

First graders at Dows Lane Elementary School who have been learning how plants and animals use their defenses to survive in nature, recently applied this knowledge to solve a real-life problem presented to them by teacher Ann Marie Reardon: The aquarium animals’ food, bagged and stored outside, is being eaten by wildlife. She challenged the children to find a way to protect the food supply.  

“The students spent time viewing images to learn about biomimicry…[where] scientists use what they know about the natural world to inspire solutions to solve human problems,” Reardon said.  

Students had to pick one type of defense – shells, spikes or camouflage –to guard the food supply. They drew and labeled their plan in their science notebooks, then built structures using a variety of recycled materials including plastic bottles, toothpicks, pencil-top erasers and colored tissue paper. Once they’d completed the structures, they tested them to see if they would repel predators.  

“[The students] were able to apply their understanding of how defenses work in nature to solve a problem,” said Reardon.

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About the Author: Evelyn Mertens