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Monday, July 06, 2015

Pattern Seekers: Interdisciplinary Study

"Living in a world without insight into the hidden laws of nature is like not knowing the language of the country in which one was born."
- Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927, Sufi spiritual guide, musician, and writer)

"Our biggest failure is our failure to see patterns."
- Marilyn Ferguson, American Writer

"Nature is written in signs and symbols."
- John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892, American Poet)

"In nature's infinite book of secrecy, a little I can read."
- William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

"The earth is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first,
nature is incomprehensible at first,
Be not discouraged, keep on,
there are divine things well envelop'd,
I swear to you there are divine beings
More beautiful than words can tell."
- Walt Whitman (1819-1892, American Poet)

What amazing patterns in nature will students find and interpret?
As I think ahead to 2015-2016 school year, influenced now by Schneider's work, I am wondering about the focus of the naturalist grant, Pattern Seekers: Interdisciplinary Study in Nature,  our team will write for a local funding resource, the Wayland Public Schools Foundation (WPSF).

The naturalist grant proposal is rooted in the following goals:
  • To match the proposed State of Massachusetts science standards which are tightly aligned to the NGSS.
  • To coordinate with the SuAsCo river study grant we are working with in conjunction with Drumlin Farm, our local Audubon organization.
  • To help students observe and understand the natural world around them.
  • To integrate math, writing, reading, and nature study in order to help students become seekers and interpreters of patterns. 
This is a great naturalist tools for young students as they explore
Earth's tiniest land/water organisms and nonliving objects.
As I continue to think about this grant, I have the following questions:
  • How will we align the activities in the grant with State science standards and number/geometry exploration?
  • What writing foci will we align this grant with? Will students write poetry about nature, journal, craft research multi-media projects, and/or expository essays to protect our natural surroundings?
  • How will we match this grant with students' reading and science research efforts? As students study the ecosystems related to our nature walks, will they create picture books and then read those books to students in the younger grades so that they too can become pattern seekers and young naturalists?
  • What tools, experts, and other resources will we need to foster these explorations and deep learning events?
If you have thoughts related to this study, let me know. In the meantime, I'll continue to think and research this with my grade-level team.