SBS campus becomes outdoor classroom for science classes

“Science is not, and cannot be, an effective tool for advancing our society unless it is relatable, understandable, and useful.  Our climate, and understanding of it, impacts much of what we do – and want to do – as humans.”

Included among Sant Bani School’s values are nature and the experience of being outdoors, and expanding one’s horizons and connecting with the world around us.  To incorporate these values into the classroom, SBS science teacher Jess Boynton invited Amey Bailey from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest to conduct an outdoor lesson with the sixth grade class in which students learned ways in which they can track climate data on campus. 

“I think it’s really important to understand how climate and weather work, how we as humans are impacting both of them, and how we can be a positive force in mitigating the effects of climate change on our local communities and beyond,” Jess explained.

Jess has known Amey for several years and learned of the science data collection program at Hubbard Brook while she attended graduate school at Antioch University New England.  She also utilized Amey’s “Hubbard Brook Box” curriculum guide at a previous teaching job and hoped to find a way to use it at SBS.

When Jess contacted Amey to inquire about using her Curriculum Box, Amey informed her of a Climate Change-specific curriculum she was developing; at the time, the sixth grade had just completed a unit about weather and the climate, so an invitation to bring Amey to campus felt timely.   

Amey came to campus on Tuesday, April 5 to meet with the sixth grade for that day’s science class.  Prior to her visit, Jess sent Amey suggestions for specific data points that can easily be collected on the SBS campus.  Amey’s visit began with her telling students about the types of data Hubbard Brook is collecting and their recent climate observations.  She then discussed ways in which data can be tracked on campus and shared tips for collecting accurate data before venturing into the surrounding woods.  There, she showed students how to measure stream depth and flow rate and demonstrated how to use a small wooden board for forest floor observation, which is used to track the diversity and timing of soil-dwelling creatures.    

Jess’ goal is to annually incorporate climate-related data collection into the science curriculum.

“My vision is to collect data on campus every year, involving any class that wants to take part but especially the Middle School students,” Jess said.  “I may divide some data points across the various grades to best connect with their curriculum, so students can learn a new data collection technique each year.  This can then be one of our touchstones for incorporating our science and engineering practices, cross-cutting concepts, and core science ideas through the lens of climate change in a meaningful, hands-on learning experience.”  

Having already begun some data collection techniques, SBS science students will continue collecting weekly data points for the remainder of the school year to practice precise data tracking and to keep climate-related data collection on their minds in preparation for continued work next fall.

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