Nenita Lapitan

Creating a Bird-Friendly Community with Place-Based Education

Edison PreK-8, an urban school in an under-served area, has an extremely low science test proficiency rating and is one of four Dayton Public Schools in a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) pilot program.  It is one of two schools moving to Place Based Education (PBE), which uses the local community and environment as a starting point to teach concepts in science and other subjects. However, classroom teachers have little experience creating teaching models that fit the STEM and PBE methodologies and administrators are eager to partner with Aullwood, a distinguished environmental education center.  This project will involve working with 5th-grade classes to develop field trip experiences that align with state standards and enrich local science and math academic standards through hands-on scientific inquiry, focusing on water quality and habitat restoration to protect biodiversity. Four day-long field trips will enable students to experience scientific investigations at Aullwood, with emphasis on protecting water quality and creating bird-friendly communities. Students will take monthly trips to the Wolf Creek, a tributary of the Great Miami River, to conduct water sampling and testing projects.  The class will participate in a habitat restoration project at the Edison Land Lab, an outdoor classroom created by the entire student body three years ago as part of a Toyota TogetherGreen Volunteer Days project.  Students will be encouraged to use these activities as the basis for science fair projects.  From this deep-learning model, students will improve science test scores while developing a foundation for conservation actions that lead to bird-friendly communities.

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