Animals in the Year 5023

by Michael Porter
Fifth graders are re-imagining animals to fit in a new habitat – 3,000 years into the future!
Science Specialist Deb Landon has been working with students on how animals have adapted to live in their present habitats. But what if those habitats change over time? Students are using their creativity and background knowledge to build models of futuristic animals, whose physical and behavioral attributes will be different in the distant future.

Fifth grader Chelsea R. is working on a cat that will live in an entirely new habitat.
"I think he's gonna be in the ocean," Chelsea said.
Ms. Landon emphasizes that every single fantastic alteration to the animal must be balanced by practical physiology. The future animal must be able to breathe, eat, and maneuver through its environment. This requires a degree of creativity and critical thinking on the part of the students.
"This originally was a turkey but I had to adapt it for survival in the ocean," said Grayson S. "I added gills with feet, a fin, and a different tail."

Audrey W. has some interesting plans for her chosen animal, the serval cat.
"The serval is going to be aquatic so I'm going to add fins," Audrey explained. "And then I'm going to give it bad eyesight so that's the reason it has whiskers – so it can detect the ocean floor and things around it."
No doubt her water-loving serval will enjoy a fish diet. She elaborated on how she got the idea for her project:
"It just reminded me of Minecraft for some reason because I used to play that a lot," Audrey said. "There was an ocelot, and I thought those were cool, and you always find them by the ocean for some reason."
Ms. Landon has given her students an opportunity to express their fantasies, while forcing them to think within the realities of science. She is currently  modifying his paws for swimming and is "working on" how her animal will breathe underwater.