HAND LEARNING E-NEWSLETTER
Vol. 4, No. 8
IN THIS ISSUE:
1. SPLASH INTO SCIENCE FIRSTHAND
2. HIKE INTO AN EKO ADVENTURE
3. CONDUCT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON AN EARTHWATCH EXPEDITION
1. JUST ADD WATER!
There’s nothing like new and exciting environments and activities
to spur authentic engagement and spark curiosity. And summer is the perfect
time to expand kids’ horizons outdoors. That was the case recently
for six 7th and 8th grade girls from St. Monica's Scholars School in Buffalo,
who enjoyed a day-long field trip to explore the local waterways as part
of their participation in Science Firsthand (SF).
for more information about this science-focused mentoring program.
The girls and their teacher, along with SF mentors, took a Metro bus across
town to the Lake Erie waterfront lab of Buffalo State College. They had
been introduced to aquatic invertebrates during one of their Science Firsthand
sessions and now they were primed for their first exposure to a natural
aquatic environment. The lab has a number of research vessels but it was
in rowboats and canoes, made in part by other Science Firsthand participants,
that the girls set out from a slippery shore. (The algae-covered boat
ramp made for Chaplinesque scenes of people in unbelievable postures!)
Once on the river the girls had an opportunity to row and paddle, enjoying
the novelty of traveling by boat. They also got a taste of how environmental
research is conducted at a field station. Doug Knorr, an SF mentor, felt
the experience changed the urban girls’ attitudes “from abject
fear to a growing fascination with the water and things of the water.”
See pictures from the day: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sciencefhl/sets/72157614734223395/
Learn more about Buffalo State’s Maritime Center at http://view.buffalostate.edu/main.php?g2_itemId=28253&g2_a=24310.
What eye-opening experiences in nature and science have you offered your
students? Tell us by emailing email@example.com.
2. LOUISVILLE IS ENGAGING KIDS IN THE OUTDOORS
In Louisville, Kentucky educators are using the Metro Parks to introduce
children to rich natural environments. Louisville EKO (Engaging Kids in
the Outdoors) offers elementary students inquiry-based activities, closely
tied to school curriculum, that make use of fantastic local resources.
These parks include the 6,191 acre Jefferson Memorial Forest and the Red
River Gorge National Geologic Area. For many fourth graders who participate
this is their first in-depth exposure to “wild” habitats such
as forests and meadows.
Learn more about EKO and how it is working towards its goal of “More
Kids in the Woods” at http://www.louisvilleky.gov/MetroParks/parks/
“GREEN TEAM” SCHOOL CLUB TO EARTHWATCH RESEARCHER
Ashley Luna, a graduating senior at South Park High School in Buffalo,
New York has been involved in the environmental remediation project of
a nearby waterfront park as a member of “Green Team,” the
school’s environmental club led by science teacher Adam Hovey. With
Green Team, Ashley and the other club members have explored local habitats,
conducted scientific research such as water sampling, and worked to clean
up and restore two watersheds. Once a month, Ashley shares what she’s
learned when she works with younger students involved in the Science Firsthand
after-school program, teaching them how to test water quality on the Buffalo
Green Team leader Adam Hovey’s focus on ecology and the environment
with his students led him to participate in an Earthwatch program in the
Arctic. On his return he encouraged Ashley to apply to the Earthwatch
Institute to join a “Teen Team” expedition. Ashley had to
complete five essays to apply for this national competition. She was one
of eleven high school students offered the opportunity to conduct original
scientific research into the geology of New Mexico, studying plate tectonics,
volcanism in the San Juan Mountain Range, and evidence of global climate
Check out some photos of Ashley in New Mexico: http://www.buffaloschools.org/webpages/ahovey/pictures.cfm
Ashley’s two-week expedition as an “EarthWatcher” was
inspiring for her. “This has been the most incredible experience
of my life. I have learned so much about geology and I will be able to
take my experience with me to college and my future career. I am ecstatic
that I was awarded this chance-of-a-lifetime opportunity,” she says.
In the future, Ashley would like to set out on new, exotic expeditions
with Earthwatch but for the moment she is happy to be picking up litter,
pulling Japanese knotweed, and testing soil nutrients with the Green Team.
Learn more about South Park High School’s Green Team and its activities
by reading the group’s informative blogs.
http://orangethumb.fiskars.com/the_bailey_penninsula/ and http://orangethumb.fiskars.com/the_bailey_penninsula/the-reclamation-of-bailey-peni.html
The Earthwatch Institute (http://www.earthwatch.org/)
offers numerous ways for people – scientists, teachers, corporate
and non-profit partners, and the general public – to get involved
directly with pressing environmental issues. Read more about specific
expeditions for high school students at http://www.earthwatch.org/expedition/teenteam/
Don’t worry if you don’t have a rushing river to navigate
or a forest at your doorstep, there are plenty of exciting environments
to explore this summer. Get some easy ideas at http://www.firsthandlearning.org/minijournal.html
The First Hand Learning Catalog offers science
notebooks, field journals, hands-on science kits, posters, and more.
Go to www.firsthandlearning.org/catalog/catalog_frameset.html
We hope you found this edition of the Firsthand Learning E-NEWSLETTER
informative. Please contact us with any comments, suggestions, or questions
you may have by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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