Research Question: How can we protect nature?
Brookwood Kindergartners are learning to protect nature through close observation of the world around them. Our research allows students to observe and identify problems in nature. They are able to brainstorm and research their own ideas in order to solve these problems. Littering is an ongoing problem that students recognize each year. They are able to research and develop ideas to help combat this problem. Additionally, our research focuses on the changes of the environment throughout the seasons and proper plant growth. Students spend the fall months learning how to observe and record data. Students begin learning basic planting skills in early February. During the winter months we utilize our greenhouse for plant growth. In spring, students learn how to transplant seedlings and care for them outside. Through this process students learn about the parts of a plant and how each part plays a role in plant growth. In May, our plants are mature and ready for our annual Kindergarten Plant Sale. This is our culminating civic contribution that requires students to create a variety of advertisements using technology, visual media, and handwritten posters. Students leave Kindergarten with a thorough understanding and love for nature and plants. They specifically grow and learn about the threatened Milkweed species. This knowledge is a catalyst for their STEM research study in first grade.
Use of Data: Students record data about seasonal changes and wildlife activity.
Our Partners: In order to further the work of the research, we rely on our expert partners to help us.
- Our students have identified sick trees at the park and at school thanks to our local Arborist, Kris Thomas.
- Mr. Smitherman, a local bee expert, teaches students about the importance of pollinators.
- Fiddleheads, a local nursery, is our newest partner. Students collaborate to learn more about career opportunities that incorporate nature.
Civic Contributions to our Community:
Teachers and students take their plants to the local Farmers’ Market to help share more plants and learning with the community. Each Kindergarten class composes and publishes informational books based on their experiences at Lakeshore Park. These books are donated to local elementary schools in our district.
Integration of Core Curriculum with Research:
Students transfer what they learned at Lakeshore to the classroom setting through integration of all academic areas.
- We read a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts throughout the year related to the nature around us. We select books that assist in the ongoing learning and scaffolding of our research.
- We write about shared experiences at Lakeshore in order to integrate letter knowledge, phonological awareness, high-frequency word knowledge, and the writing process. This is facilitated through interactive and shared writing.
- Classes write big books together based on their authentic shared experiences.
- Students use nature items found at Lakeshore to count, sort, and engineer new creations.
- Students record data about seasonal changes and wildlife activity in a variety of ways.
- Authentic scenarios allow students to solve real-world story problems using addition and subtraction.
Our Little Stories Of Effect On Students’ Lives:
“John went home each day after school and collected acorns from his yard. His learning in class allowed him to sort and identify the types of oak trees. He chose to plant some seeds at home to help the environment. He left some seeds so the squirrels would have food in the winter months.”
“After learning the importance of flowering plants and pollinators, Maria persuaded her parents to purchase enough plants to create her own garden. She wanted to increase the number of pollinators in her neighborhood by using plants she had helped grow from seed.”