Students investigate biodiversity of wildlife in their backyard (schoolyard) by selecting and mapping out areas they expect to be high in biodiversity in part one. Part two uses a larger area to make observations about the area by using “biodiversity clues.”
During the activity, students pick up a natural object, such as a leaf, and make “I notice…” statements out loud with a partner, then share some of their observations with the group. They do the same with “I wonder…” questions, and with “It reminds me of…” connections. Then, students practice using these tools while exploring whatever they find interesting. This simple routine can help students get beyond seeing nature as a “green blur,” and lead them to never be bored in nature again.
- Increase curiosity for and directly engage with aspects of the natural world.
- Make observations, ask questions, and relate findings to past experiences.
- Learn that descriptive observations are distinct from statements of opinion or identification.
With animation, interactivity, and sound effects, Starting with Soil demonstrates how plants and animals cooperate to make the soil we need to grow healthy food. Kids learn that soil starts with bare rock and discover how long it takes nature to make one inch of topsoil. (Spoiler alert: it takes 500 years!) Different chapters convey the importance of pollinators and the critical roles animals, the weather, microorganisms, and cover crops play in organic farming. Designed for students ages 7-9, Starting with Soil allows users to plant seeds, build a compost pile, drag a microscope over different organisms in soil to get a better look, and view the symbiosis at work when corn, beans, and squash are planted together.
Understanding Food and Climate Change: A Systems Perspective explores the links between food systems and our changing climate with an emphasis on systems thinking. A systems approach helps to illuminate how seemingly disconnected phenomena are often dynamically linked and can be understood best when viewed in a larger context. This collection of essays contains an extensive bibliography that provides resources for further investigation. Available as a free iBook for Mac and iPad users.