March 20, 2019
By Kelli Gile, WVUSD Office of Community Resources
WALNUT, CA—Vejar Elementary kindergartners have been busy as beavers during recent studies on animals and how they use habitats for survival.
The learning has been coincidentally focused on the lives and homes of the little saw-toothed mammals.
The children created paper-mache beavers by pasting layers of scrap paper over inflated balloons with the help of fifth-grade buddies.
The young artists then painted brown bodies and heads, drew in eyes and noses, and added cardstock teeth.
“I like the flappy tail – it makes a sound!” kindergartener Isaiah Orrosquieta shared while thumping the five-inch paper appendage on a desk.
“And then I thought we needed to make a dam for our beavers!” said Carolyn Campbell who teaches the combination kindergarten/transitional kindergarten class.
So, her students drew up their ideas and talked through plans for the real-world engineering problem.
Campbell brought in about 20-feet of rain gutters and a hose to create a “river” just outside the classroom.
Next, students collected piles of sticks to make a dam and the beaver’s lodge home.
Some of the more eager youngsters volunteered to mix up the dirt and water to be used to bind sticks together for the outdoor project.
“We needed the mud to make their home!” said Ryan Teng, age 6, who wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
On Monday, Campbell turned on the faucet as students lined up to watch the river flow down until it reached the huge pile of sticks.
“The water was going hard!” exclaimed Charlotte Tearpak.
“They built a dam to divert the water to a pond – and it worked!” Campbell said of the little brainchild idea.
Busy as Beavers! Vejar Elementary kindergartners show paper-mache beavers on display during the March 20 Open House.
Vejar Elementary students watch the river flow into the dam they build outside the classroom.