MATT KAPLAN (Oakwood alumnus) with Oakwood Faculty (TBD)

For grades 9 - 12



Course Description:

Have you ever wondered why a cheetah runs as fast as it does? Or why it is possible to take a skin graft from any cheetah in the world and attach it to any other without even the slightest chance of rejection? Did you know that dung beetles use celestial navigation to help them roll their balls of poop away from rhino toilets so that other beetles won’t come along and commit fecal theft? If birds once had four wings (and some did), how do you think they would have flown? Did they fly at all? Might the spit of a worm off the coast of California prove the vital compound we need to glue shattered bones back together? Why is the electric eel electric and how far off are we from using what we know of this eel to create biological batteries?

During Animalia we will study animal interactions in the wild, discover how many of the “facts” we thought we knew about these creatures are merely myths, explore the countless ways in which animals and their specialized abilities are shaping modern science and, perhaps most importantly, ask ourselves “how did animals get to be the way they are in the first place?”

This course will travel to Zion National Park in Utah during the second week of Immersion to explore wildlife and their adaptations in this spectacular natural setting. Students will stay in lodge accommodations, but must be prepared for hiking and outdoor excursions in the expected winter conditions.

Supplemental Travel Fee: $1000

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More Information:

Schedule and detailed information is available to students and their families via Oakwood Connected.

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Emergency & Faculty Contact information:

In the event of an emergency, you can contact us at the following numbers.  We will have direct access to all travel groups.

During school hours: Call Tree at (818) 732-3000 or Phu Tranchi at (818) 732-3195.

Matt Kaplan:


how to send us your pictures & Other media:

We would very much love to see your class in action! Please email all photos to

We'll be filtering the images and updating the gallery on this website daily. 

We ask for all videos to be uploaded to a video sharing site (we prefer Vimeo) and the link be emailed to us. You can also send links to Google Drive and other hosting sites. Thank you!