The students at Father John V. Doyle School in Coventry got to see the “biggest living thing on the planet” last week.
The object was brought into their school for observation during the Boston Museum of Science Life Cycle’s Traveling program. The object wasn’t however, unmanageable, and that was because it was just a baby…a baby Giant Sequoia. Giant Sequoias, the biggest trees on the planet, only grow in California, but the program had a sapling which they had grown from a seed shipped here from California.
The program presenter, George Pechmann, an education associate for the Museum of Science’s traveling program, told the students in the audience all about the Giant Sequoia. He told them how they can grow to be more than 25 feet across, larger than the size of two blue whales combined. He told them that they can live for up to 4,000 years and that they have a layer of bark that is likely more than three feet thick.
He showed them some very well known examples of giant Sequoias that have become tourist’s attractions for the state like the General Sherman Tree and the Chandelier Tree.
The Giant Sequoias weren’t the only living things that the traveling program had to display for the kids. Pechmann also brought along with him several types of amphibians, which he displayed and detailed for the students.
He talked with the students about the life cycle of various types of frogs and showed them examples how different frogs carry their tadpoles until they are ready to go out on their own. Some, he said, carry the tadpoles in their throats, some carry the eggs on their backs and with the marsupial frog, he told the students, it’s the dad that carries the eggs. He said that he deposits the eggs under the skin on his back and carries them until he can find a safe place to store them until they are ready to hatch.
The students all seemed to enjoy the presentation, wooing and wowing the entire time. One of their teachers, Jeanne Harvey, a second Grade teacher at the school, said having programs like that come to the school is a great opportunity for the students to get that type of experience and exposure without having to have their families incur the costs of a big field trip.
“Field trips get so expensive with bus transportation and everything, this is our way of getting our students to experience a professional science presentation with having to pay a big price,” Harvey said.
The program coincided with the third grade student’s curriculum, which is why the third grade teacher at the school, Linda McArdle organized the event. She said that she was researching the topic with her students as part of their lesson on the subject and stumbled upon the traveling program and thought it would be a great opportunity to get the experience of such a presentation.
Once it was confirmed that the program would come to the school, McArdle said that it was determined that the program would be delivered to both the second and third grade levels because of its age appropriateness.