3rd-5th: Virtual Zoo & Genius Hour iPads

Teacher Name: Shauna Willett
Teacher Phone Number: 254-716-5141
Teacher Email: doodlebugmom1@gmail.com
Tuition: $160.00 per year, payable in monthly installments of $20.00
Discount for Semester Payment: No
Supply/Materials Fee (due at registration): $35.00 *Note: This supply fee covers insurance, cases, keyboards, etc., and it will be lower in future years.
Deposit (due at registration): $20.00
Grades: 3rd – 5th
Minimum Class Size: 10
Maximum Class Size: 15
Midterm Enrollment: Yes
Class Time: Second hour
Prerequisite: None
Estimated homework hours: None
Required Materials or Books: None

Class Description:

First Semester: Creating a Virtual Zoo
During the first semester of class, students will be challenged, and problem solve via tech as they create a virtual zoo in class. This project is designed to teach them how to safely and effectively work on iPads via handpicked, safe and beneficial apps. Students will work in small groups throughout this challenge as they choose their animals, research them, and present their findings to create their virtual zoo.

Students will explore possible zoo animals through teacher-picked safe websites, and iPad apps. Each student will choose a zoo animal which would not typically be seen in a zoo and will be guided in designing a habitat/exhibit that would allow it to reside there.

Students will also explore habitats, animal classification, animal basic needs & animal characteristics and create thinking maps of animals and habitats on the BVC iPads during class. They will also learn to make a digital notebook and write about their animal’s diet, and the new things they learn about their animals or habitats each week. Students will learn to draw/design a habitat using apps and analyze how the animal’s characteristics allow them to survive in specific habitats. The students will also create a flow chart board to share about their zoo animal using the iPad. Throughout the semester, students will design and give a presentation which explains the animal they have chosen, facts and information they have collected, and why the animal would be a good candidate for The Brazos Valley Co-op Virtual Zoo.

Second Semester: Genius Hour
Students will be introduced to Genius Hour during the second semester of this course. Genius Hour will provide them with the opportunity and freedom, using the skills and apps they learned about in the first semester, to research a topic or idea that they are passionate about while utilizing the iPad and developing their tech-skills.

Students will move through the following phases of their project: Plan, Research, Organize, Create, and lastly Present. Teacher guidance and iPad utilization are keys to this class, and our teacher will work closely with each student at every phase of the project. They will choose a topic and formulate a question that will guide their research. Once the project is approved, they will be supervised during class time to work on research for their project. Research materials may be books, and/or teacher approved safe websites and apps. When the research is complete, students will work to present their project in class. The presentation will be any medium of the student’s choice. For example, they can create a demonstration, slide show, movie, etc. with the iPad as their canvas and apps as the paintbrush, the sky is the limit!

With guidance and instruction, students will take ownership of their learning during this semester as they utilize technology. The genius hour is designed to spark curiosity, encourage creativity, purpose, and perseverance, and flexibility while also having fun and safely developing important tech-skills.

Shauna Willett

Shauna Willett


I am homeschooling mom to two who loves children and learning, along with lots of laughter. We are currently in our eighth year homeschooling.