Day 134: Ella, Lower School Environmental Education Facilitator

[ By on May 06, 2013 ]

Project-Based Learning Week at the Lower School

This past week, the Lower School took a break from programming as usual and embarked on its first Project-Based Learning Week.  Each grade picked a theme (and in some cases, more than one) and explored it with projects, as the name infers.  It was a beautiful spring week and the campus was buzzing with children working – many outdoors – on projects of their design.

The Hudson River was the focus of several grades, with projects ranging from trips to sites along the river, such as The Science Barge and The Little Red Lighthouse, to a re-creation, by kindergarten, of the Hudson River using paint, sculpture, and shovels to dig out a replica of the river behind the K-3 building. Another grade marked Google Maps with sites along the river.

The fourth grade’s theme was the Riverdale Environment, with projects ranging from planting and landscaping the campus TO cooking foods which represent the areas of the world where foods originated and are represented in our gardens, to creating an outdoor exhibit of the Riverdale environment by exploring and discovering interesting species, artifact,s and animals found on campus. The children photographed their samples, sketched them, and painted their choices on wood to create an outdoor environmental exhibit.

The fifth grade took on several projects.  One was to build an outdoor classroom area by constructing a deck between two trees and landscaping it.

Another fifth grade project was called “Imagining Musical Instruments.” in which participants engaged in designing, creating, playing and recording their instruments.

A third fifth-grade project involved researching library design with visits to libraries and then redesigning the library at the Lower School.

In art, students worked on creating trees and birds found on campus.

These are examples, by no means inclusive, of many of the activities that kept the children smiling and engaged in new and creative ways. I’m sure I missed a few, as I was busy working on some of these projects myself,  including the fourth grade environmental project, Kindergarten and first-grade trips, and the art project. I hope that Project-Based Learning Week becomes at tradition at the Lower School.

Ella Pastor is the Lower School Environmental Education Facilitator.  One of her goals is to see the children actively involved in using our beautiful campus for learning outdoors as well as in the classroom.

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