Leaping Lemurs

Lemur specialist holds Google+ Hangout with MB’s first grade classroom


First-grade students listen as Cindy Maur answered questions during the video discussion.

“Do red-ruffed lemurs use their whiskers the same as cats do?” asks Karthik M., a first-grade student at Moses Brown School.

In January, first-grade students in Jeremy Saksik and Samantha Bradshaw’s classroom got to hold a special video chat about red-ruffed lemurs with Chris Golden, director of the health & ecosystems program at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Cindy Maur, a zookeeper at the Bronx Zoo. Second- and third-grade students from Detroit and New Jersey also tuned in.

The class brainstormed questions to ask Golden and Maur, which were sent back to the zoo, though the kids got to pose the questions directly to the expert during the Hangout. And to answer Karthik’s question above – no, lemurs do not use whiskers like cats.

“It was like a real field trip to the zoo,” said Saksik. “They got up and asked the question to the camera, just as if they were raising their hands at the zoo.”

The children were asked to take notes on what interested them while Golden was talking (see gallery below). They included how large lemurs can get, who the natural leaders of the group are, whether they can communicate with other species of lemurs, and what their diets and grooming habits are.

Bradshaw said that this lesson was part of a new unit on the animal kingdom. In the spring, the first-graders will be doing a research project and she hopes that this lesson with Golden will show them how much work goes into gathering data.

This is not the first time that Golden has worked with Moses Brown. Last year he came and did a presentation on his work in Madagascar when students were working on their Rainforest Fair.

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