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Samples of coconut, cashews and starfruit and an array of other edibles found in the Amazon Rainforest were a mid-morning snack for second-graders in the gifted magnet program at Williams Elementary School on Friday morning.
Justin Smith, 7, liked tasting the chocolate along with the berries, while classmate Jimari Reese, 7, really liked the cashews.
They were a little leery of the “funny looking” ginger root and didn't care much for the coconut water, being surprised it was not sweet.
The students in Sandy Davis and Pat Edwards' classes spent the day exploring the rainforest as they concluded a six-week unit that included learning about the animals and food found there, its geography and other issues. Students rotated through eight stations manned by parent-volunteers or other school staff.
A mural in the hallway showcased the many animals found in the rainforest like a macaw made by Matthew Dvorchick, 8, who likes colorful birds.
Matthew received help with his project mostly from his mother in making the body of the bird, while his father helped with the painting.
“I learned that a macaw has two back toes but mine doesn't have them because I forgot to tell my mom when we were making him,” Matthew said. “And I learned that a macaw can fly up to 35 miles per hour and they have a lifespan of up to 80 years.”
David Oi, a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Gainesville, fielded questions about ants found in the rainforest and set up a microscope to a computer so the children could see the tiny fire ants up close.