Zoopalooza Article

Diego Chiat
Zoopalooza article

This year King MS’s 7th grade Arts and Tech Magnet did the first ever Zoopalooza assignment. The project began in February when we went to the Los Angeles Zoo. Groups of four students were assigned an animal that is on the verge of being or is already endangered. We spent the day observing the animal and taking measurements of its zoo habitat.
When we returned to school we had two months to meet with our partners to create a model of the animal in its enclosure and integrate the information we gathered into each core subject. For English, since we are reading “The Lord of the Flies,” we had to write a scene incorporating our animal in the story. For Science, we wrote an essay describing what we observed of our animal, we researched its physical developmental characteristics, and we explained why it is endangered and what is being done to protect it. For History, three people in the group were assigned a question regarding ancient civilizations and the presence of wild and domesticated life. The fourth person wrote about the geographical region in which their specific animal lives. Lastly, for Math, we created a chart of measurements of the animal’s enclosures, which we used to create the model to scale.
Once we finished all of the core subjects’ assignments, we put the complete project on a display board behind our model. Then came the most exciting, yet nerve-racking part, the presentations! They took place April 8th through April 11th in the Auditorium. Each group had to stand up in front of their classmates and talk about their animal. In my opinion, getting up in front of close to a hundred students is scary, especially when a microphone amplifies your voice.
Although only the students and teachers were there for presentation, others had a chance to learn about all these animals too. Thursday, April 11th was Thomas Starr King M.S.’s Open House where parents, siblings, and incoming 7th graders could come to the cafeteria and learn about all these fascinating animals, along with seeing the work that was done on this project. To me, this assignment carried a lot of interesting aspects. For example, while watching presentations I learned a fun fact for every animal I saw. Overall, I think the Zoopalooza Project was a success and I hope other classes get to experience it in the future.