Teaching to heal the world
“How can we improve the systems we’re a part of?”
That’s the question my team posed to our 4th- through 6th-grade students last spring at The Cornwall School, in Cornwall VT. It was the start of a deep dive into education for sustainability.
Local connections with worldwide implications
In our current study of heat transfer, our class decided to connect science concepts to the UN Sustainable Development Goals — specifically, Goal 13, which looks to combat climate change. The challenge was to model a place where students had experienced Urban Heat Islands, then create a sustainable mitigation plan for that place.
Starting with paper blueprints, then moving to Google Maps, students fabricated models of these urban heat islands and calculated how to measure the mitigation.
Place-based learning with real world implications
For your students, learning about the local landscape can be amazing. What’s that tree? How long has that building been here? What does that plaque, “1927 Flood Level” mean?
Here’s 3 tech-rich ways to study local history: by updating your town on Google Maps, creating a QR code-powered history walk or shooting a historical documentary. Roll tape!
How to get started with service learning
Service learning can play a key role in middle level curriculum, yet it can seem daunting to many educators. But it’s so rewarding for students and valuable to the community, and most of all, easy to get started with.
Let’s take a look.
Deepen place-based learning and boost emotional engagement
Having signed the permission slips, helped raise money, converted US dollars to Canadian, and reviewed the itinerary multiple times, I attended an information night for my daughters’ end-of-year field trip: a 3-day adventure in Quebec City. I learned (among other things) how to be certain if mobile devices made their way across the border, how to turn off data plans to avoid being charged outrageous fees. I thank the organizers tremendously for reminding us about this issue.
What I didn’t hear though was how mobile devices might be used to enhance learning on this trip.The power of these devices in students’ hands while they explore seems too powerful to pass up.
Revisiting the possibilities of student-created geographies
The rate at which technology changes has reached a dizzying speed, with new tools and platforms emerging constantly. But what hasn’t changed is students’ curiosity about the world and their need to explore their own place in it. Young adolescents in particular, burn with the urge to make and personalize. So what does it look like to tap into that urge as it pertains to physical landscapes?
Yes indeedy, folks, it’s time once again to talk place-based learning and edtech.