This week's E-Connections demonstrates how environmentally-centered science units build students' global awareness of sustainability and stimulates critical thinking about real-world problems.
Island Park Elementary students take lessons on sustainability to the park"This was such a fun field trip," one Island Park fifth-grade student exclaimed. "I planted five trees!" Cheers erupted when parent volunteers asked if students enjoyed the experience of ripping out invasive ivy and digging into Island Crest Park dirt to plant new trees.
This winter, Island Park students in several classrooms and in several grades have partnered with the Washington Native Plant Society and the Mercer Island Parks Department to adopt an acre of Island Crest Park behind the school. They are planting new trees and removing invasive plant species from the park."This activity was a perfect culminating activity for our environmentally-centered science units," said Island Park teacher Kerida Millison. The students' work is an extension of their classroom lessons on the environment. This science unit builds students' global awareness of environmental issues, and stimulates critical thinking about real-world problems by addressing concepts and ideas that impact environmental relations."This is a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I'm a mess!" an excited student named Riley said.Students prepare a new tree forplanting at Island Crest ParkA fifth-grade student yanks invasive ivy from the ground, making way for more trees
The tangible goal of the project is to fully restore the area of the park with native plant species, a goal which a representative from the Washington Native Plant Society said could take between 10 and 20 years.
In third-grade classrooms, the project tied in with a unit on Native American studies. For kindergartners, it tied in with their unit on trees and wood. For fifth-grade students, it helps prepare them for a week at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, where they will enjoy a unique, outdoor educational center designed to provide exceptional learning experiences and inspire life-long environmental and community stewardship.
"Students really enjoyed making a difference and were very proud about what they were able to accomplish," one teacher summarized.
Contact: Randy Bolerjack