A group of fifth graders learn that their state laws won't allow them to keep a hedgehog as their classroom pet, and as a result, we're treated to an inspiring story combining lessons in animal care and civics. Pretty good deal, if you ask me:
Rather than throw a temper tantrum or settle for a hamster, the savvy fifth graders decided to find out why. Their systematic research put them in touch with learned scientists, state representatives, the Lehigh Valley Zoo, the mayor --- even the governor. The Pa. Game Commission’s Title 58 137.1 outlawing the species was suddenly under fire.
The students challenged the Pa. Game Commission’s claim that hedgehogs pose dangers to the balance of Pennsylvania’s wildlife by eating the eggs of nestlings and to humans as potential carriers of leptospira (found in the urine of many wild species). Native to Africa, hedgehogs requires a minimum 70 degrees to thrive and would scarcely survive Pennsylvania’s harsh winters. The likelihood of being overrun by herds of hedgehogs proliferating in the wild (which, in one statement, the PGC compared to stink bugs as a non-native species) is slim indeed.
Research and reasonable arguments, with a side-dish of educational benefits to boot. Hard to be more positive and inspiring than that.
I think it's safe to say this a project these students will still remember vividly in 50 years!
Up, C, Down, C, Left, C, Right, C, A + Start!