Addition of Animal Behavior at WOHS


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Natalie Nevins, Featured Teacher and Club Corner Editor

West Orange High School is now offering a new elective known as Animal Behavior, taught by science teacher Karen Green, who revealed the novelty of the course. She states, “The course was offered for the first time last year in the 2018-2019 school year. I created the curriculum the year before and then it was approved by my supervisor, Stephanie Suriano.”

The course is unlike any other elective ever offered at West Orange High School and entails units of unique information and a series of hands on labs. According to Mrs. Green some of the major units include, “Evolution of Animal Behavior, Learning and Cultural Transmission (instinct vs learned behaviors), Sexual Selection and Mating System, and Social Behaviors such as Animal Play, Animal Cultural, Animal Politics, Animal Language, and Animal Business.” In addition, the class includes compelling labs that deal with earthworms, planarias, pill bugs and more.

This new course is ideal for students who are interested in animal behavior or potentially following a career path involved with animal medicine or the animal care field. 

In terms of teaching this course, Mrs. Green mentioned specific aspects of the course that she looks forward to the most. “The thing I look forward to the most is observing the students’ reactions during a live lab activity. They get so into it with excitement and their reactions are priceless. Also, the trips are great, because the students are gaining real life experiences when observing the animals.”

Along with the course itself, Animal Behavior offers several field trips as well as guest speakers to expand on the curriculum. Mrs. Green explains, “We go to the Bronx Zoo and Turtle Back Zoo. Also, we have a veterinarian guest speaker to present to the students. Along with that, I am in the process of obtaining a dog trainer to come in to speak to the students.” 

Overall, Animal Behavior is a wholesome and intriguing elective for those who are interested in a career that interacts with animals and is a beneficial course to emerge in.