Last fall, fourth grade read Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan, a recipient of the Newberry Medal. It is based on the true story of Ivan, a western lowland gorilla who is taken from his home in Africa to the Pacific Northwest in the United States of America as an infant. At first, he lived with humans in their home until he became too large and was transferred to a 40' x 40' (12m x 12m) cage at a mall. After over twenty years in confined quarters, Ivan was finally able to move to the Zoo Atlanta and live out the rest of his life there.
The fourth-grade students were enthralled with Ivan's story and became fascinated with gorillas as a result. In order to further their learning and foster this newfound concern for endangered animals, fourth grade has symbolically adopted four gorillas from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) thanks to the support of the ASM Fund for Excellence. Donations were made in the names of fourth-grade teachers Leah Dawson, Jeanne Hamilton, Katherine Lamberton, and Jessica Streisel. These donations will help preserve the western lowland gorilla's habitat, build field research programs, and combat immediate threats to animal conservation.
Delighted with the chance to help protect the species they had come to love, fourth grade created an interactive bulletin board located in the lower school to teach their ASM community about the western lowland gorilla. Students, faculty, and parents are invited to measure their hand size, arm span, and height in comparison to a gorilla, read fun facts researched by the fourth grade, and learn more about how they too can protect endangered species.
Fourth graders are also excited to share this information on social media. Recently their class post on Twitter was re-tweeted by Katherine Applegate, the author of the story that inspired them! See screenshot below.
Fourth grade has come to love Ivan and his species, and they're sure that you will too!