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SWON News: The Low Down

Seeing the Real Thing

Thursday, February 19, 2015  
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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With a toddler at home, I’ve seen my share of cute-but-not-at-all-lifelike animal illustrations. So I was excited to discover the Life-Size Zoo books at the library. It’s a tall book that uses fold-out pages to show large photographs. Even then, it can only show a fraction of a walrus, but an inset illustration shows how much of an animal is unseen.

What can you see? Whiskers! Teeth! Eyelashes! Such a big mouth! Such small ears! You’re looking at a real creature, from up close, and you can see as many details as you take time to find. Our boy flips through the pages again and again.

When we go to the zoo or aquarium now, the animals he wants to see are mainly the ones from those books. We look for the whiskers and other particulars we’ve noticed. You know all this is on his mind when you ask him to think of an O word and he says, “Okapi!”

When you’re planning programs, a great question to ask is, “How can I get patrons closer to the real thing?” Make it a challenge. Can you show photographs instead of giving verbal descriptions? Can you involve other senses too? Can they get their hands dirty? Give them an experience and you help them step into new territory.

  • Nathan Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator

"Raptors are Animal Heroes!"

At SWON’s spring Summer Reading Program Workshop, Raptor Inc. will bring a Barn Owl, a Great Horned Owl and a Turkey Vulture in for a friendly visit. We’ll learn about their habitats and their roles in the environment, as well as seeing beaks and talons up close.

Join us March 18th for a full day of programs and ideas. We hope you’ll bring your own program plans (for the Idea Share at the end of the day) and an investigative spirit.

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