Kindergarten Nature Protectors

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 collect and record data of various problems they discover in nature. Students analyze data collected and research possible solutions to these problems.

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Our Partners:  In order to further the work of the research, we rely on our expert partners to help us.

  • Mr. Stone, an expert in rocks and minerals, helps us understand the role they play to help maintain a healthy ecosystem for all of nature.
  • Mr. Smitherman, a local bee expert, teaches students about the importance of pollinators.
  • Dalton Parks and Recreation Department partners with our students to help create solutions for the ongoing littering problem at local parks.
  • The University of Georgia leads an annual pollinator census where our students are actively engaged in data collection to determine the health of our local and state pollinator population.

Civic Contributions to our 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.

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Integration of Core Curriculum with Research:

Students transfer what they learned at Lakeshore to the classroom setting through integration of all academic areas.

Literacy

  • 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.

Math

  • Students use nature items found at Lakeshore to count, sort, and engineer new creations.
  • Students record data about varying amounts of litter throughout each season 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:

“When a guest reader was sharing a book with Mrs. Marchmon’s class, the students noticed an illustration of a girl brushing her teeth with the water running. The students interrupted the reader, saying “The character is not being a nature protector! She is wasting water!” Then the students persuaded the guest reader that wasting water is bad for nature.”

“When Elizabeth learned how dangerous plastic straws can be for animals, she made it her personal mission to stop using them.  She didn’t stop there.  Elizabeth decided that everyone should know how much straws affected nature and shared her learning with her family.  She and her family made the decision to eliminate straws completely unless they were reusable.”

 

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