Beatrice Rafferty students learn all about Extreme Survivors

This fall, IRW led a book-based Literary Links to Science program called Extreme Survivors, focused on Kimberly Ridley’s latest book, Extreme Survivors: Animals that Time Forgot. Four schools in Washington County learned about ten creatures that have withstood eons of challenges, and how many of the challenges they faced (such as ice ages) were evident in the landscape around them.

Earlier this fall, they ventured out on a field trip with their teachers and IRW staff to learn about ice ages and explore traces and indications of glacial movements in their own backyard.

Last week, after visiting Pembroke Elementary, Whiting Village School, and Lubec Consolidated School, Kimberly Ridley and IRW staff arrived at Beatrice Rafferty School to explore Extreme Survivors together with all fifth graders and some sixth graders.

Just like at the other schools, Kim shared with them that they were the very first kids in the whole world to read her book and how exciting that was!

She tied in the Ice Age Trail and how now she was zooming in, zooming in, zooming in. As she had at the three previous school visits, she turned students into ACE Reporters (Accurate/Creative/Edited) and shared her own love of reporting.

They were eager to share the knowledge they gained from their own research. “Did you know a nautilus is also related to the snail and the clam?” one student shared. We loved how much they had engaged with the subject material, and seemed to thrive on their newly-acquired knowledge.

Kim led a writing exercise and inspired students to write a News Flash for their community – “An Amazing Animal Lives in Our Town.”

Kim also helped students think about reliable websites and sources, telling them, “May the force source be with you.” They were certainly not bored by Kim’s research, and one young fella asked, “Could you read us some of the book?”

During workshops, many eager hands went in the air with questions and comments. “How do tardigrades live in Antarctica if there is no moss there?” A discussion on cryptobiosis ensued. “It’s like barnacles because they close up with the water in them!” “Could you imagine being frozen for 30 years and still be able to survive?” Kim asked them.

After watching a scientific video of a water bear wiggling along on a glass slide with some difficulty one student observed, “That’s a complicated way of moving.”

Upon receiving his very own signed copy, one young man declared while hugging his book, “I have my own book.”

And so do one hundred and forty other youngsters in Washington County! IRW is very grateful to Kim Ridley, the four schools and their incredible teachers and students, and Dr. Harold Borns, who led a training sessions with teachers on the not-so-hidden secrets of the Downeast Ice Age Trail!

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