When we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo last summer, we were highly amused by the friendly beaver and stood for a long time as he swam back and forth in front of us. I marveled at his long orange teeth and flat tail and how he held his front paws in front of him, seeming to coyly show off in front of the crowd of visitors. Solana spent quite a bit of time filming these antics on my phone. (As an aside, how cool is it that the Lincoln Park Zoo is free?) I can’t say that I was ever interested in beavers before, but when we came home and I saw some books on beavers at our local library, I wanted to read more about them. I was so much more engaged having had the hands on experience of seeing one up close. It really made me experience as a reader the impact of experiential learning and background knowledge on motivation: ideally something to replicate in the classroom either through virtual learning or hands on science centers.