Ellie the Elephant Visits Boze Elementary
Why in the world was an elephant inside of the Boze library?
Yesterday, Boze second graders received a special visit from Ellie the Elephant. Ellie, is a realistic animatronic – or robotic – elephant, making her rounds across the country through PETA Kids teaching empathy to school-aged children.
The program aims to show student show they can help animals suffering in captivity at places like circuses and marine parks, highlighting the importance of freedom of choice and how their choices can make a positive impact on their school and community.
As one can imagine, students were beyond enthusiastic to see the 500 pound, 6.5-foot-tall elephant moving around in their library. But when 15 year-old Ellie told her story of how she was taken from her mother, sent into a life captivity in the circus, and suffered punishment before finally being rescued to live in an animal sanctuary, students immediately began to question how they could help other elephants.
PETA Kids representatives Stephanie and Jordan gently explained ways that students could promote better treatment of animals, and extended the thought to the treatment of classmates – specifically addressing bullying. After questions of concern ceased, many other questions arose. Almost all of the young students were adamant about the famous elephant diet of peanuts. Jordan explained that in reality, peanuts are not elephants preferred food and in fact, they would much rather feast on vegetation like grasses, plants, and twigs.
At the end of the lesson, second grade students were allowed to get a closer look at Ellie and take pictures with her, too.
Meanwhile, the Boze preschool class heard about the excitement happening in the library and were given an opportunity to see the elephant too. “It’s real!” one student exclaimed. “And the trunk moved!”
Ellie the elephant has been on the road for nearly five years, traveling across the country to share empathy with young students and help them build emotional and social skills. In fact, next week, Ellie will travel to Idaho, Jordan says, where they’ll stay for a while before moving onto the next location.
Technology serves us in many ways. Yesterday, it provided students a thoughtful yet exciting look into Ellie’s journey to freedom, allowing them to make real connections to Ellie’s story. At TAF, we work to find new ways to educate our students to make learning meaningful and unique. We encourage other educators to take the time out to research new learning tools and opportunities to expand the minds of their students, too.