Lower School students spent some of their learning time outdoors this week in service, inspired, and in pursuit of answers to questions about the Earth.
Michelle Levy’s kindergarten class enjoyed plein air drawing and painting on picnic blankets in the Benjamin Cooper Memorial Garden. They returned to the classroom to plant flower seeds and legumes. Other pre-K and kindergarten classes are watching their recently planted seeds and beans closely, too, since planting them in classroom cups and moist paper towels!
First grade is learning about natural resources and the conservation steps engineers and architects are taking when designing new construction, including the tiny house trend using shipping containers. They’ll be building their own models out of materials that would otherwise be recycled. This week and next, 1st graders will also be designing their own parks based on hands-on research exploring our local natural spaces and the GDS playground. They learned more about what it takes to care for these spaces and took photos to remind themselves of the spots they treasure the most.
Second grade joined LS science teacher Kathleen Dawson for a trash pick-up on our adjoining property where City Bikes resides, in conjunction with their learning about waterway pollution. They located the nearby storm drain on 42nd Street and gathered trash that might otherwise be swept via that conduit into a local creek or the Potomac River. Soon, they will begin an innovation project to design a solution to prevent pollutants entering these waterways or to clean up pollutants that have already contaminated them.
Third grade enjoyed a mix of nature immersion (think shinrin-yoku—Japanese for “forest bathing”—but in an urban setting) and learning about flower reproductive anatomy. They learned how these specific reproductive structures depend upon pollinators—chiefly bees—which can be affected by pollutants in their habitats. They also spent some quality time racing each other on the outdoor Spike Memorial Sprint Track and sitting beneath the flowering trees there.
Jay Tucker took his fourth grade class to the Benjamin Cooper Memorial Garden, where they constructed Andy Goldworthy-inspired art with natural materials found in the park. Some built free standing sculptures while others crafted mandala-like pieces nestled into the grass. Liz Spratley’s class took their learning about the ancient Greek Olympics out to the sprint track as well. They wore handmade olive laurels (paper construction this time) and competed in several rounds of sprints. They are looking forward to the Earth Day Eve finals!
Community members are reminded that tomorrow, Earth Day, members of the ImproveMyCommute Team will be handing out small gifts to anyone who bikes, walks, takes a GDS Shuttle Bus, or rides public transportation to school!