Borton Students Write Book About Vaquitas

A giant piece of notebook paper with notes students wrote about why vaquitas are endangered
Plan for the book, click to enlarge.

Previously the Puffin Room, this school year Borton Elementary Magnet School 2nd grade teacher Metta Franklin decided to have her classroom be the Vaquita Room. And the change proved to be inspirational to everyone.

The vaquitas, which are the world’s rarest marine mammal with only about 10 remaining, inspired the class to write a book.

The class started by planning out the book and started writing it during second quarter, sent the book off to print at the end of February and first presented the book at Festival of Books in March. Franklin and a few students also presented the book at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The students also made paper mâché of different marine animals, including the vaquitas, to use as visuals for their presentations.

A giant piece of notebook paper with notes students wrote about why vaquitas are endangered
Page from the book, click to enlarge.

The whole idea behind the book was to bring awareness to the fact that the Sonoran Desert connects to the Sea of Cortez, and therefore includes a lot more biodiversity than the average desert, and to help people learn about the vaquitas, who are on the brink of extinction.

As far as next year, Franklin will most likely switch back to being the Puffin Room because the nature of the vaquitas’ pending extinction is pretty grim for second graders to understand, but it also serves as a lesson. One second the vaquitas are here, the next they can be gone.

A student in a red hat and t-shirt poses with his 2nd grade teacher and the papier mache vaquita he created
A papier mache vaquita is on display next to notes about the animal
Students presented their book about the vaquita at the Desert Museum
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