Saturday, May 26, 2012

Help Save our Oceans

It has been a long time since I posted to my blog. Way too long! I spend so much time following what other's are doing via Edmodo and Twitter but I thought I should finally share the cool things my first graders are up to. Here is a brief snapshot of our latest project. We will be presenting to the public at the Festival of Whales next month. 
My first grade students are really fired up about our current project where students are  investigating how we can protect our ocean and encourage our school community to create less trash. For this project, our class is using a project calendar to ensure that everyone is aware of our project goals and deadlines. We launched it just over a month ago with our entry event. Students came into class and encountered a carpet littered with trash! Immediately they were intrigued, and wanted to know how we could have so much trash end up on the ground instead of in the trash cans. Students formulated hypotheses of what they believe happens to trash that does not make it into the trash cans. The following week, students took photos during a nature hike of everything that was man-made and not a part of the natural environment. Then they sorted, organized, and graphed the data. This past week, our class took a field trip to our local beach that is directly affected by our watershed. We put students' ideas into actions and spent some time cleaning up the beach. We also did scientific testing of the water. Students tested the dissolved oxygen level, ph level, nitrate, and phosperus. In teams students are working on a variety of products such as informational pamphlets, a song, a PSA video, Keynote presentations, a watershed model, a pledge form, and posters. Each product was selected by students in order to create high levels of interest. We also brought in experts from OC Waterworks, The Ocean Institute, and The Surfrider Foundation to present.