Why Are These Children Waddling?
Some of the second and third grade students in the Brookfield Elementary School could be spotted waddling around outside the school building last Thursday afternoon.
Others were hopping, and others were galloping. Still others were walking in a weird diagonal way.
Welcome to a special animal tracking course, put on at the school by instructors from Lotus Lake Discovery Center in Williamstown for the class whose regular teacher is Stephanie Jones. The tracking course was purchased in an auction by mother of one of Jones’s students, and it provided, well, a change of pace for the students for an hour and a half.
The Discovery Center instructors, Becky Watson and Jaime Cipperly, started it off with classroom time, teaching about the different ways that animals walk, which they defined as waddling, hopping, diagonal, and galloping.
Then the kids put on snowshoes, went outside and tried it themselves.
After that, they broke into two groups and searched the nearby woods and field for tracks, helped by a fresh layer of snow. They tried to identify what animals made them, and how many there may have been.
Watson’s group made the most dramatic discovery—evidence of a rodent being chased and captured by a bird, and other tracks that suggested another animal (a coyote?) had been chasing the rodent at the same time.
The children and their teachers then waddled and hopped back to their classroom to discuss what they had seen.