FIRST HAND LEARNING E-NEWSLETTER

Vol. 2, No. 6

IN THIS ISSUE:

1. “WATCH THIS SPACE” - OBSERVING CHANGE OVER TIME

2. RTPI: A RESOURCE FOR TEACHING NATURE EDUCATION

3. ORDERING INQUIRY - FHL MATERIALS NOW AVAILABLE THROUGH CAROLINA BIOLOGICAL

1. WHAT’S GOING ON IN THAT RECTANGLE?

Investigating the natural world can seem a daunting task, especially when you look outside and realize the sheer volume and variety that exists there. But there are a number of strategies for helping students – anyone – focus their attention so that they can really begin to look closely. For instance, placing a hula hoop on a small patch of lawn is one technique to define a manageable section for exploration.

If you can find distinct areas surrounded by clear-cut boundaries you have an opportunity to watch the changes that occur over time. If you are lucky enough to have several similar areas, you can begin to track variations and differences that appear as days go by. Find out how one curious observer tracked the changes that were happening in rectangular pockets of soil that were surrounded on all sides by paving materials: http://journal.firsthandlearning.org/teams
/default.aspx?tab=invests&teamID=130

To find out more how “tree wells” can become the catalyst for a rich, ongoing investigation, check out the images and questions at:

http://www.firsthandlearning.org/ROPS
/What%20is%20going%20on.htm

2. ON-LINE TEACHING RESOURCES FROM RTPI

Based in Jamestown, NY, birthplace of Roger Tory Peterson, the famed birder and field guide guru, the RTP Institute has been involved in educational outreach for over fifteen years. This nonprofit organization offers many wonderful programs for teachers and students as well as the general public. Visit their website, www.rtpi.org, to learn more about their on-line and on-site professional development opportunities.

Make sure to check out the Roger Tory Peterson Institute’s publication designed especially for classroom teachers and informal educators nationwide. Download pdf versions of The Peterson Journal for Teaching Nature Education, a bimonthly newsletter that includes a lesson in every issue, at: www.rtpi.org/stories/news.htm?story_id=32

While you’re at it, take a peek at RTPI’s interactive website which features different natural history-based units each week for thirty weeks during the school year: www.enaturalist.org. The Electonic Naturalist offers kids the opportunity to “ask a naturalist” questions about that week’s topic via the website. Students’ questions then become part of the content of the site.

3. NEW 2007 CURRICULUM CATALOG FROM CAROLINA BIOLOGICAL

Carolina Biological Supply Company, the well-known provider of science-related materials to the nation’s classrooms, is publishing a new catalog this month filled with examples of “Innovative Science and Math” curriculum materials.

First Hand Learning, Inc. is pleased to have its Object Lessons kits and materials included in this new publication. Request a copy of the 2007 Carolina Curriculum Catalog at the CBSC website: www.carolina.com.

For more information about FHL Object Lessons materials, visit www.firsthandlearning.org/object.html.

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We hope you found this edition of the FIRSTHAND E-NEWSLETTER useful. Please contact us with any comments, suggestions, or questions you may have by emailing us at: inquiries@firsthandlearning.org.

First Hand Learning is interested in teachers’ accounts of learning and teaching from direct experience. Share your thoughts and stories with us, and we’ll feature them in a future e-letter highlighting real-world inquiry in, and out of, the classroom.

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Image courtesy of Roger Tory Peterson Institute

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