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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Great Day in Nature

We spied many frogs and a few turtles from this perch. 
I toured Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Concord, MA with nine curious, adventurous 5th graders. Approximately 65 fifth graders and 13 chaperones went on the day-long trip into the wetlands habitat.

We spied turtles, red-wing black birds, big bullfrogs, a snake, a squirrel, chipmunks, snails, fish, and a variety of insects. We walked for about two to three miles along the dirt dikes that meander around the wetlands and along the Concord River. There were a couple of naturalist run spots for ponding and water testing too.

I enjoyed adventuring with the students as we listened to animal sounds and tried to figure out what animal it was hiding in the reeds. We explored an old beaver dam and a few climbed a tree too. We talked a lot about our many adventures in the nature too as we hiked along. At the end we went to the top of a tower and looked out over the wetlands habitat.

It was a great way to explore nature and culminate our multi-week standards-based, naturalist study that included raising the spadefoot toads, learning to compost, making biodomes, studying living systems, listening to an introduction about elegant "living systems" design, learning about the life of frogs, creating energy diagrams and food webs, and watching a wetlands video and other nature related videos.

As we approach this study next year, we'll better integrate our STEAM projects into the work and look for the best times of year to include this work--a time of year that helps us to refer back to this naturalist study at year's end when we prepare for the MCAS test and move into the final chapter of the year.