Friday, November 30, 2018

Ecosystem Investigations

Today at Fenner Nature Center, Chelsea Ezze and Jen Adams's classes got their hands dirty and dove in to discover how the living and nonliving components of our environment work together to form ecosystems. Using the tools of the trade, students worked together to draw their own conclusions about how different ecosystems are similar and different through the use of hands-on investigations.

Students investigate prairie and forest ecosystems. 

Students collect data about different types of soil: first they identify the area to take their soil sample. Then, using a core sampler to extract the soil, they examine the soil's properties.

Students compare the temperatures in the prairie and the forest.

Students take notes and record their data. 

Winter Wonderland

Well, the snow fell this week in the Lansing area, and along with it, temperatures. 

Although colder air and icier terrain underfoot presented obvious challenges as students braved the natural world, they learned this week that time spent in nature is never wasted: 

We become more connected to the natural world when we observe how it adapts to a newly-fallen blanket of snow. The bird's call pierces the quiet of the woods, our eyes are drawn to the gentle movement of the last remaining leaves on the otherwise still trees, and the cold burst of air awakens the senses and the spirit. 

At Woldumar, Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Cole's classes incorporated literacy skills of close observation, communicating in words and images, and making self-to-text connections as they read Douglas Wood and Dan Andreason's beautiful book A Quiet Place in preparation for their observation time after lunch. 

"Sometimes a person needs a quiet place."
A place that's far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life --
a place that isn't ringing or talking or roaring or playing. 
But sometimes that place isn't easy to find.
Explore what it's like to find a special someplace where we
all can think our own thoughts and feel our own feelings. 

Mr. Boyd gets audience participation as he prepares his students to read A Quiet Place.

Making note of the surroundings on the way to observation time (trying not to get lost!).

The single sound of a bird stands out against the quiet of the woods. 

During observation time, a student sees with new eyes. 

Mrs. Cole and her students share a moment of wonder in the falling snow.

"This looks like a doorway to Winter Wonderland!" - Briella and Sophia

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Annie's BIG Nature Lesson: Teacher Training

What a great way to start the ABNL Experience! A group of 27 teachers met today at Harris Nature Center in Okemos to talk about Annie's BIG Nature Lesson. They heard the history of the program, its mission and accomplishments, and got a feel for what their class's experience will be like. Throughout the training, teachers collected mountains and mountains of ideas for multi-disciplinary lesson plans to engage students during their weeklong experience in nature. 

Roseanne prepares to lead teachers on discovery walk

Teachers embark on discovery walk

Sound map: create a map of the sounds you hear and where they are in relation to where we're standing. 

Margaret shows how to help students "zoom in": by providing a frame (in this case, 2 rulers).
Here, another easy "frame": a window made with an index card. 

A great way to pause during a walk: read a children's book.

Distribute paint swatches to help students identify color in the outdoors.

Observation time.

Amazing things to be found when looking eye level...

ground level...

and sky level!

We are looking forward to hearing about your experiences throughout the school year! Please use the comment box to post your thoughts, reflections, or experiences!