USN Lower School Technology!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Week--Opportunities to Teach and Learn

This week as we roll over the middle of April Hill, looking ahead into May Valley, I'm pleased to treat our Lower School Students to a plethora of ways to look at the way we are treating our planet. I discovered the fantastic "Story of Stuff" website yesterday and almost scrapped everything to share that with the kids, but after my second viewing of the 20 minute film I decided that it might be better shared with older kids, and certainly with friends and family who are adults. Hey, you're probably an adult! Get yourself a cup of free market coffee and watch The Story of Stuff.

Here's the breakdown of activities in the lab, in the order of the daily classes:

  • 3rd and 4th graders get a brief intro to the concept of hyperlinking, with asides about Wikipedia and Google, necessary for the activity to follow. Then they go to their computer stations and click through the network folder path to the document I prepared for them to 1) find and add at least three bulleted lines of linked resources, and 2) link at least three times within the text of the document. They're also working (see pic above!) on Word documents their teachers are calling "4th Grade Memoirs." It's never boring in here!
  • Kindergarteners visit Boowa and Kwala and help them clean up litter in a badly messed up river, sorting the appropriate materials into their appropriate containers. This is fun, as is the section's song, "Superheroes of the World."
  • 1st graders are watching Magic School Bus's "Recycling" video, served up on our internal Safari Media server. It's heartening to hear them singing the theme song and bursting into rhythmical clapping at the right times, and in the right time!
  • 2nd graders visit the Webliographer to play the Great Green Earth game, hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists. It's a java-based game that offers them a thought-provoking series of multiple choice questions to answer, geared to help them increase awareness of the impact their own choices can make on our planet. Did you know that burning a gallon of gasoline releases around 20 pounds of carbon monoxide gas into our atmosphere, far more than the weight of the original liquid? I didn't, but I do now!
As we move through May, I'll be helping my students get ready to move on up into their next year of learning (and teaching). Be sure to follow along!

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