Thinking and Working outside my Comfort Zone

10/21/2011 1:18:16 PM
crossposted at cheryloakes.com

 A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to attend a Teachers on The Estuary  workshop in Wells, ME at the Wells Estuarine Reserve.  Read further if you are looking for science examples to use in your instruction in your classes. This science information is not just about understanding science, but about being a life long learner and steward of our planet.

I am lucky in my position at Wells High School, I get to work in special education classes and co-teach science with highly qualified science teachers and I assist as the highly qualified special educator. It is a program that works well as an inclusion model in our continuum of classes offered for all students. This summer, when I had the chance I immersed myself, along with my co-teacher at the Teachers on the Estuary week long workshop, the TOTE program.

I learned a lot about our local marine resources and how NOAA does an incredible amount of really good scientific work in areas other than weather! How many of you think that NOAA   is only about weather;  hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and dust storms? Check out their logo for more topic areas that NOAA promotes.

NOAA



NOAA has a whole section of their web dedicated to Education and Teacher Resources, The topic, estuaries, where the river meets the sea, and fresh and salt water mix, has some online classes you can take advantage of   and specifically the Estuary Workshop 101  for high school students. ( NERR is working on a middle school and elementary option too.) Who knew NOAA was so involved in so many areas?

NOAA has partnered with other organizations  notably METEd and Comet, whose mission is: “MetEd is operated by The COMET® Program, a talented team of scientists, instructional designers, and developers. We've been producing quality educational materials since 1989.”
There are free online course modules for educators and learners from middle school to adults who are life long learners. These courses would be awesome for the classroom to infuse scientific work into your instruction. I was fascinated by the Arctic Ecosystems which in fact explains not only the Arctic Ecosystem but builds with the foundations of photosynthesis, carbon cycle,the greenhouse effect and the life and food cycle of the arctic region. This particular module really resonated with me as one of our guest scientists, Cameron Waite, UNH professor and researcher  spoke to us about Climate Changes, and one way to help make people aware of these changes is to include in the conversation what role the changes play in Systems!   “Unlike science of a century ago, Earth System Science is focused on the interactions between several disciplines that determine the state and evolution of our planet. The impact of that on human behavior - as well as the impact of human behavior on the planet - is an additional focus of Earth system science.”
( Atmosphere, Biosphere, Geosphere, Hydrosphere, and Human Interaction Systems) http://essedesignguide.org/
As a culminating part of my summer TOTE workshop, I will be designing, with my students, a stewardship project about our local watershed and how we can protect and promote it to the public.
For a quick look at how a stewardship project about watersheds can be implemented in your classroom, here is a TOTE stewardship project from last year.   Pam and I are planning our stewardship projects over the summer. I’ll report out here throughout the summer and  school year.


Resources:

National Estuary Day http://www.estuaries.gov/GetInvolved/Default.aspx?ID=153
September 24, 2011.
Stewardship Project http://www.estuaries.gov/News/Default.aspx?id=527
Earth System Science  http://essedesignguide.org/
NOAA Teacher Resources http://www.education.noaa.gov/
Teachers of the Estuary http://www.estuaries.gov/GetInvolved/Default.aspx?id=401

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