by Mara Goldschmidt, Third Grade Teacher and Thad Falkner, Head of School
Wilson students are always up for a challenge. They recently stepped up when the U.S. Green Building Council-Missouri Gateway Chapter challenged schools to plan and implement creative, effective, and low-cost sustainable practices. Some goals of this project-based program include:
Wilson is participating in this program, and third-graders will be focusing on water usage and conservation. They are coordinating this study with another innovative experience - Level-Up-Village program, where our students are paired with third-graders in another country for a collaborative unit of study. Wilson will pair with a class in Mexico, and both classes will learn about properties of water, water usage, water filtration, and the global water crisis. The students will learn the same concepts, and they will correspond via video letters and live chats about their thoughts and ideas. It is a wonderful experience in gaining cultural competencies, as well as studying and considering solutions for important global topics.
Equipped with knowledge, our third-graders will implement a sustainability project at Wilson. To conserve tap water, they will obtain and put into use a rain barrel to collect water for irrigating the garden outside of Senior Kindergarten. Additionally, our sixth-graders will be exploring ways for the school to conserve electricity. Students in these two grades will share the information they learn about the important topics of water and electricity. For example, it takes electricity to produce clean water, and we use water to produce electricity. This encourages students to go beyond simply memorizing information; they also make meaningful connections.
In education, all learning experiences are not equal. Integrated learning experiences like this - take a real problem, require research and study, bridge culture and geography, and seek solutions - are the kind of activities that stick. The result is students being ready for their future because student gain the content, character, and competencies necessary to a 21st Century Learner.
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