by Hazel Stark
A question we often ask our students is: “Who lives here?” This open question encourages students of any age to observe their surroundings closely to figure out as many different living things they share their school yard with as they can. The question results in a different program each time depending on the location, season, and interests of the students involved. The 3rd-graders at Jonesport Elementary School explored this very question for five weeks of Forest Fridays this spring.
They started with honing their “four science senses:” sight, hearing, touch, and smell (no tasting). They explored signs of spring in the rain using these senses, modeled how populations change depending on the resources available to them, practiced bird bill adaptations for different food types, and acted out the process of photosynthesis and made beautiful leaf rubbings. On the last day, they used their knowledge about the plants, birds, and mammals around the school to identify as many different living things as they could using field guides.
When asked whether helping nature is important, one student said on the last day of the program series, “Yes it is because it is living just like us!”
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