Going Green Resources Education Teaching
That’s the goal of a “green” curriculum — to create a future generation of environmentalists who will act as stewards of our natural resources. But beyond deciding to stop four-wheeling in our streams, students who study green curricula will also be well-prepared to join the growing green workforce, and ultimately help create a cleaner, more sustainable planet.
As part of an NEA Foundation “green grant” program, Grant took part in the Teeland Middle School River Rangers Project, a seventh-grade curriculum that incorporates academics, conservation, and community service.
Made famous by vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, Wasilla sits along the banks of the Little Susitna River and is Alaska’s fastest growing community. Grant and 200 of his fellow seventh-graders attended five full-day field trips to the river and its tributaries where they collected data that they used to evaluate the environmental impact on the Little Sustina’s ecology.
The students not only learned about the practical application of scientific concepts through field research, they played an important role in monitoring the impact that rapid community growth has on their ecosystem.
The curriculum was created by seventh-grade teachers Rhett Buchanan, Mike Shea, and Joe Nolting, and made possible through the support of an NEA Foundation green Student Achievement Grant. The integrated curriculum teaches science, math, literacy, and technology skills through the study of stream ecology.
“The best outcome of our project is the change in attitude shown by our students, ” says Rhett Buchanan. “Many in our area take healthy salmon streams for granted; after learning the complexities of stream ecology, students realize that decisions they make can impact this resource for future generations.”
With $150, 000 in new NEA Foundation grant funding designated for projects that integrate green-related topics and experiences into the classroom, more students can take part in such programs.
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