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