Animal Science is a unique course provided at Athens Drive High School that takes a kinesthetic approach to learning. This class not only educates students on the fundamentals of animals, science and everything in between, but also the actual classroom is filled with class pets ranching form lizards to goats, providing a hands on experience for students that they would otherwise not get.
A hefty part of the curriculum is centered around learning all about the class pets: what they eat, how they act and what they need to stay healthy. This allows students to apply their skills as they are given the freedom to take care of the class animals at school and even at their own homes.
“Yes, we do take home some of the smaller animals but not the full grown chickens or goats. I’ve personally taken home Ziggy and not much changes from their home and school routine. We take them home over spring winter and thanksgiving break,” said Nina Lomardo, junior.
With this responsibility comes the obligation to tend to the animals needs. Students go through training in class to understand what is needed to take care of specific animals.
“At the start of each semester, students are taught about the different classroom animals and what is ‘normal’ behavior for each animal. If a student has observed abnormal animal behavior, students report the behavior to me,” said Savannah Currens, animal science teacher at Athens Drive High School.
After Currens becomes aware of any possible issues, she will look at the animal behavior log and determine if any medical attention is needed. These logs are an important tool in determining how to tend to the class animals.
Recently, one of the bearded dragons, Ziggy, was in need of an expensive surgery that nor the school or the teacher could pay for.
“About a month ago he bit the end of his tail. We’re not exactly sure as to why. We got a partial amputation of his tail and when we had learned it failed it wasn’t a good time. The new surgery would cost about $400,” said Lombardo.
After hearing the news, the animal science class and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) club leaped into action. They campaigned during lunch and at the FFA kickoff banquet, asking people to donate their change. They also made a video for ATV addressing this issue to try to raise awareness around the school. After two weeks of fundraising, animal science and FFA was able to raise more than enough money in time to get Ziggy the surgery he needed.
“Zig is doing great. He just finished his last round of antibiotics I plan to keep him at home through the weekend to monitor how he behaves off antibiotics. Keep him in your thoughts,” said Currens.