Bringing Community back to the Classroom
For the past two days, I have had the amazing experience of absorbing all things Nature Up North through a teacher workshop on the St. Lawrence University campus. As a local science teacher, I spend a lot of my summer...yes enjoying a well deserved break from the daily grind...but also reflecting on the past school year. I am always brainstorming ways to make science content in the classroom more tangible and relevant to my students. Through this workshop I have been inspired as to how to achieve this goal. Nature Up North is a truly amazing program with the philosophy of encouraging Place-based learning and Citizen Science. Getting kids in their own backyards and "doing science" allows them to connect to their community while increasing scientific literacy and "connectedness" to nature. I can do all of this AND hit tons of NYS/National Science Standards! I mean that is a dream come true!
With what I have learned during the workshop, I plan to implement a few established citizen science projects such as Monitor My Maple and a Macroinvertebrate sampling of the St. Regis River. In addition, riding on the enthusiasm gained, I signed up to pilot a Bog Trot in the local community of St. Regis Falls and a Biodiversity analysis of the woods behind our school utilizing GameCam technology.
I think this will be the perfect way to engage those hard to reach students and really show them that nature isn't something only seen in far away places or read about in textbooks; rather nature exists right where we live, work and play. I hope that students will leave school excited and begin to connect science concepts beyond the walls of my classroom. Science isn't scary...science isn't hard....science is fun....science is local and we can all play a part.
This is AWESOME!!!! Our students will really benefit from the hands on adventure!!