SuperScience for grades 3-6 inspires students to make scientific discoveries as they read fascinating news stories, engage in hands-on activities, learn about current science topics, and more!

Animal Keeper (Grades 3-6)

When Hazel Davies goes to work, she is greeted by curious snakes and tortoises that mistake her green sneakers for snacks. Davies manages the animals that star in exhibitions at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The museum exhibits feature a colorful cast of creatures, from blue butterflies and red frogs to a green iguana nicknamed "Iggy." Museum visitors enjoy these live-action attractions. But it takes more than a cute face or bright colors for an animal to earn a spot at the museum.

Going Live
Davies and other staff members choose animals that can bring important concepts to life. One exhibition that includes live organisms is The Butterfly Conservatory. This exhibition explores the importance of butterflies in the web of life and highlights threats the insects are facing around the world.

To create the exhibition, Davies brought hundreds of live butterflies to the museum and released them into an enclosed area. People can walk through the conservatory while free-flying butterflies flutter around and even land directly on the visitors. The museum staff hopes that this up-close experience helps people gain an appreciation for these important insects.

Critter Care
Once the museum decides on the animals to feature, Davies finds breeders who raise the animals. That's important because the museum wants to minimize the collection of wild animals.

When the animals arrive at the museum, staff members work around the clock to care for them. In the exhibition, Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, there were roughly 200 amphibians that needed to be fed. In the wild, the frogs catch live insects to snack on. So each morning, Davies delivered live fruit flies, crickets, and wax worms to the frogs' enclosure.

But this wriggling snack wasn't exactly the same meal that some of the frogs would get in their natural habitats. The exhibit included 67 dart poison frogs. These frogs can release a toxic chemical from their skin. Dart poison frogs get their poisons by eating certain insects that contain the toxic chemicals. By not feeding the frogs these insects, Davies kept them from producing poison. "They got everything they needed from what we fed them," says Davies. "But it's safer to handle them when they're not poisonous."

Fun on the Job
For Davies, being able to work closely with the animals is a lot of fun-even when they get a little too close.

That happened once as she fed leaf-tailed geckos at the museum. These lizards cling to trees with gripping toe pads. As she dropped crickets in the cage, a gecko leapt up and landed on her face. "I thought it was asleep," said Davies. "After that, I was more aware of where it was every time I opened the cage."

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    Guided Reading Lecturas Cortas Level K

    Guided Reading Lecturas Cortas Level K

    Available August 2015!

    The all-new Guided Reading Short Reads brings the same high-quality nonfiction of the original Guided Reading Short Reads to both Spanish and English-speaking learners. Access to short informational texts builds vocabulary acquisition and content area knowledge for all students, providing rich support for students who are learning Spanish, and building confidence in Spanish-speaking learners that they will carry over to their English instruction.

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    Supplementary Collection | Grades 2-3
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    Guided Reading Lecturas Cortas Level K
    Grades 2-3 $129.00
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    White-tailed Deer

    White-tailed Deer

    by Chris Bowman

    White-tailed deer spend their days grazing in prairies and woodlands. When startled, they flash their distinctive white tails as they run from their predators. They can even jump 30 feet in one bound during an escape! Discover more about these shy animals in this engaging book for young students.

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    Library Binding | Grades 2-3
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    Grades 2-3 $17.25
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