Third-grade teachers invited staff from the Animal Rescue League of Greater Portland (ARLGP) to talk with students about the problems and needs facing the ARLGP. One major problem is not having enough people adopting the animals housed at the shelter. After discussing the problem, the students decided they wanted to work with the ARLGP on a service-learning project to raise community awareness about the shelter’s homeless animals.
The students began by taking a field trip to the shelter to see the animals. They also talked with local police/animal control officers to find out how they approach the issue of homeless animals in the community. Using ARLGP’s website, the students learned more about the shelter’s history, the needs it meets, and the problems of animal overpopulation. The students used data collected by the ARLGP on the local overpopulation of animals to learn about probability/estimating and to make mathematical tables and graphs.
Following their research, the students brainstormed ways to inform the community about the problem of homeless animals. They decided to make posters describing animals at the shelter and the problem of not enough people adopting them. With help from their parents, the students distributed their posters around the community. They also wrote letters home to their families explaining their project and at least one family decided to adopt a pet from the shelter. The ARLGP wrote a letter to the students expressing gratitude for their work.