This week, students got connected with their local environment through a Bioblitz! What is a bioblitz? Great question! When we introduced the word, the students figured out that “bio-” means life and “blitz” means a fast, all-out effort. At Donald McKay, we tasked students to go out into their school’s garden and look for interesting foliage that sparked their excitement! At Maverick Landing, rain cancelled our plans to go outside, but the students engaged in a marine bioblitz, exploring shells and marine life.
On Friday, students at Donald McKay had the opportunity to explore the school’s garden in depth. They got a close up look at flora and fauna of all sizes, from tiny aphids to enormous chard leaves. Garden treasures also included some tasty treats like ground cherries, mint leaves, and chives. NATURE teachers walked around the garden as kids ran up to us to show us the plant and bug life they found.
One girl was excited to show us how she figured out how to open a spiky pod (safely) to find small black seeds inside. Another student figured out that leaves could be crushed up and used to make a green paint. When we brought the foliage back to the classroom to look at it more closely, one boy noticed that there were small aphids crawling around a particular leaf and passed it around so all his classmates could see.
While the students entered the garden without specific instructions or guidelines of what they would be learning, each student found something new that excited them! Instead of giving students answers, NATURE facilitators asked questions to help students figure out why some plants had spikes, some leaves had holes, and why some plants (flowers, chard, tomatoes) had bright colors while some had more dull colors. We facilitated the activity, but the learning was entirely student-guided.
While it rained on Wednesday night, students at our Maverick Landing Community Center location had a fun night indoors rotating through several fun marine biology themed stations. They explored the role that shells play in marine ecosystems by taking a look at the little creatures that live inside of them. At a different station, students made guesses about the relationships between different animals and discussed the concept of food webs.