CLCS Environmental Education in 1st & 2nd grade 2016-2017
Mrs. Becker takes her first and second graders outside all year long!
The school property is filled with an abundance of fascinating plant and animal life just waiting to be discovered and investigated by the curious minds and hearts of our students. The first and second graders particularly enjoyed exploring along a path leading from the pole barn all the way into the wetland at the bottom of the slope.
Some of the first things the students observed in this area were seeds. They collected a variety of seeds, from dandelions, pinecones, burdocks, nuts, and maple seed “helicopters,” to apple seeds hidden inside the delicious fruit, and then learned about the variety of ways that these seeds are dispersed.
Later in the fall, when leaves turned beautiful colors, the children collected leaves. They used hand lenses to closely examine their structure and learn about the function of leaves in producing food for the plant. In a similar hands-on way, the students also investigated and categorized different types of plant roots.
Staghorn sumac is an interesting plant that grows in abundance at the top of the path by the pole barn. We learned about its importance to wildlife and birds as a source of food especially during the winter months. We also enjoyed using it to make a delicious beverage for ourselves- staghorn sumac ‘lemonade!’
Goldenrod also grows in abundance along the path to the wetland. The students were fascinated by the three types of insect galls which form on goldenrod, and investigated the life of the goldenrod gall fly specifically. It was delightful for them to have an opportunity to share their learning with the rest of the student body at the science fair!
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” ~Albert Einstein
The school property is lovely with a variety of evergreen trees in the winter. The first and second graders learned how to tell the difference between pine, spruce and fir trees on their snowy winter walks. They also had fun making bird seed feeders to hang outdoors for birds to enjoy during this season.
Animal tracking was another wonderful winter walk activity the students enjoyed. They learned to identify the tracks of six different animals, and observed rabbit, deer, and fox tracks on several occasions.
As spring approaches, maple sap has begun to flow, and we have been learning to identify three types of maples on the school property: red, silver, and sugar. We have also been tapping the trees, looking forward to boiling it down for syrup and/or maple snow candy!