Cold Blooded Creatures: A Reptile Show


Written by Erika Renkl |

Photographs by Erika Renkl |

The AP Biology class spends most of the year preparing for the College Board test in May. This year, the test fell on the morning of May 12, and the students spent about four hours in the testing rooms downstairs, trying to work everything they learned all year together to get college credit. After the test, the students took a sigh of relief knowing that they’re done with the AP, but the work does not stop there.

This year, Mr. Luther has set up a reptile show for the Joel School, completely planned and run by the two AP Biology classes. The show consists of several snakes, lizards, and spiders, as well as a few skeletons to teach students about what we can’t bring. Some mammals were brought to use for comparison. Approximately thirty students went to Joel on May 27 to give two presentations: one to kindergarten and first grade, and one for second and third grade.

Each student or pair of students from the AP class was assigned to become an “expert” on one animal. The students were responsible for creating part of a kid friendly slideshow for their animal, as well as bringing the animal out of the container and under the camera to show the students. Some students walked around the crowd with the animals to show the children, but time was an issue so the kids didn’t get to see every creature up close.

The animals included in the show were several geckos like the rhacodactylus lechianus and more common pets like the leopard gecko. There were three ball pythons and an African Sand Boa that the students could learn about and see. Many of the animals belong to Biology teacher Mr. Luther, while some of them belong to students such as Senior Josh Gilbert. The show consisted of Mr. Luther giving an introduction about the animal with some fun facts to go with the slides that the students made.

Since Mr. Luther used to take a reptile show to children’s parties, he knew how to engage the children. Mr. Luther even got prizes for the students who correctly answered the trivia questions at the end of the performance. The show went so well that the school system wants to book the show at Pierson in the near future. The biology students made lesson plans for the elementary school, and many of the children drew pictures of the animals to send back to thank the high school students and Mr. Luther. They also wrote letters all of which are hanging in Mr. Luther’s room.

One teacher sent individual writing pieces from each of the students in a first grade class. They were assigned to write an opinion piece about if they liked the reptile show and why. Most of the children said they loved the show and listed their favorite animals. One student said that he “loved the bearded dragon because he had a beard” and another student stated she “loved the snake because one was rainbow” in response to the rainbow boa.

Hopefully the class will continue to visit the schools after the AP exam to make this an annual tradition!