This website (explore.org)is completely amazing. It offers LIVE webcams of a variety of different animals. My students love to click into the app to see what animals are around the cams at that time. It is the go-to app during free-choice time. My students are so intrigued because you never know what animal will be just a click away. Here are a few screenshots of some animals that we have seen recently.
Yep! There are kittens and puppies on the website/app too. They are all animal shelters and rescue centers so it is pretty cool to see the puppies and kittens thriving. They also have some options to see oceans and surfing. You can also view “previously filmed footage” from a variety of places (including out of season places). There are polar bears, grizzly bears, sharks, penguins, jellyfish, stingrays, owls, monkeys, pandas, deer… the list goes on and on!
You might be wondering how I use this in my classroom. Every morning, my students do morning work. When they finish their morning work they can get on a device for free choice time. During this time, my students can choose from a variety of apps (all educational). Free choice is usually between 5-10 minutes so I ask that my students be prepared to share one sentence about something that they learned during that time or something they saw. I pick 3-5 students randomly to share at the end of the time. This holds all of my students accountable during free choice time because you never know who is going to be called on.
Correlation to learning? My students are investigating, they are making predictions, they are activating prior knowledge, they are building empathy and awareness of the world. One week our reading series story was all about life in Antarctica. That week, during free choice time, I had students specifically use this app to check out animals that live in Antarctica. They were able to make connections between what we were reading and what they were seeing on the live feed.
Plus, if you have a specific animal theme for your unit, chances are you can find a live video feed. For example, many classrooms learn about owl pellets and some even dissect them (I know of a few teachers who have done it in our school). Think of the engagement that would be happening in your classroom if your students had just 3-5 minutes to watch a live owl cam before learning all about them?
**You never know what students are going to see when they click into a live feed. I had a conversation with my students when I introduced this app about “bathroom discussions”. Yep. Animals have to go too, but we don’t need to know about it. I haven’t had any issues with students giggling or freaking out about the bodily functions.**
I hope that you will check out this website and try it with your students! Pin the image below to save this post for later!