I (28f) teach at a lower income school here in the states. In the 6ish years I’ve been teaching, I’ve always had animals in the classroom. I think it’s really important, especially for students who can’t have pets.
This year for the animal biology lesson, in addition to having our pet turtle, I decided to invest in hermit crabs.
Prior to the month long unit, I had the kids do reports on animals and used hermit crabs as an example. Then, as the unit was introduced, I revealed the crabs. The kids were sooo excited!
They took turns taking care of them, learned all about them, named them, etc.
After the unit finished, I decided I’d pick three students to take the crabs home. They had to fill out a form, get permission from guardians, and the grown ups had to come to me to get the crabs (all of this cleared with admin of course).