When bringing a pet into your classroom, it’s important to consider your options. Having information on the different animals available can help make your decision and the transition from pet store to classroom a lot easier. Perhaps you want to find out more about reptiles, for example. If you’re a first time owner, Bearded Dragons are great beginner pets.
While their name might seem ferocious, these creatures are extremely gentle by nature. They do need a few days to adjust to their new environment, but they’ll quickly warm up to their new class. When you first bring your dragon to the classroom, have your students wait a few days and then take it out for occasional handling sessions. These animals can be fragile in places, so you should supervise to make sure students don’t hold it by the tail, since it could break off.
Bearded dragons are originally desert dwellers, so they require a warm and dry habitat. A glass terrarium with a heating element and screen top for ventilation is a great basic environment. Your bearded dragon will be even happier if you add a basking spot like a flat rock near the heat source and a hiding spot like a hollow log where it’s a bit cooler. These animals like to have variety. Have your students help pick out some of the additions to their pet’s home.
Students can also help out by feeding their new pet once a day. Bearded dragons have a diet that’s made up of live insects and vegetables, and a shallow dish of water works perfectly for keeping your pet hydrated.
The learning opportunities are endless with a pet as unique as a bearded dragon. You can use your pet as a model to help captivate your student’s interest in subjects like geography, biology or herpetology. Explain what’s so unique about the desert habitat, and discuss other animals that live in such an environment. In addition, your students will have fun taking an active role in the pet’s daily care and in doing so will learn responsibility and compassion for other living things.
Dare to be different and bring a reptile like the bearded dragon to your classroom. Pets in the Classroom can help. Just fill out an application and tell us about yourself and your class. We look forward to hearing from you.
(All pictures by Robert Dachiu Jr.)