McKay Mural Inspiration

Thought it would be fun to portray winter on the side of the school

Climate Nature at McKay was especially art focused this past week as we brainstormed ideas for the exciting sea walls project of murals. One of the favorite themes we tossed around was the Belle Isle Marsh. The kids thought it would be fun to incorporate something unique to East Boston in the mural that could potentially go on the side of their school.

Talking about all the different species in the marsh

Kannan prepared a slide show to jog their memories on all the animals that live there. The coyote pup gets a bunch of awes and squeals every time. A lot of the pictures from the slideshow were taken by Sean Riley of the Belle Isle Marsh.

Drawing the ocean before there was pollution
The finished product!
Fielding questions about their mural proposal

The project should start in late summer and hopefully we will see some of these wonderful ideas included in the mural!


Boat Race Day!

So excited to have made it all the way to the end!

NATURE over at the McKay school took a day to talk about propulsion. In this case, Alex D focused on how we use the wind as a source of clean energy and why we prefer it in some cases to the alternatives. The kids were enthusiastic to talk about the wind again after our lesson a few weeks back on wind turbines.

Securing the mast to their new vessel

After the lesson, we asked the kids to use a few items to create a boat designed to make it to the end of the “canal”. The catch is that they were only allowed to propel the boat by blowing on it or using a rubber band. All the kids took the cue from the sailboats they’re so fond of and decided to make sails out of the paper and popsicle sticks.

He had no clue he was gluing up a winner
These two figured bigger was better when it came to their sail

After twenty or so minutes trying to create something that would hopefully float, the kids got ready to launch. Alex set up shop next to the canal with a stop watch to referee the race.

Ready to launch!
Very light design. Practically flew down the canal.

At the end of the second grade we ended in a two way tie. Both teams finished in an impressive 13 seconds.

Your joint winners! A little soggy but still seaworthy.

Growing Green edibles and Harvesting Green energy

This past week our program saw the kids over at MLCS undertake a planting project. We readied the growing table for two types of seeds. After guessing what the seeds were, the kids then drew how they thought the entire plant looked both above and below ground. There were some cute renderings of the radish and some surprising takes on how mustard looks before it’s “the yellow stuff”.

They were excited to be the only three present because they each got 3 rows
Sylvia won the right to seed first because her radish was growing underground. Alia almost tricked me after she went back and drew in some dirt.

In a few weeks, we hope to have some microgreens after I go back and set up the grow light from Eastie Farm.

Julianna and her wind turbine with a little baby turbine on the way

At Donald McKay, Magdalena and myself taught a lesson on renewable energy sources. We focused in on wind turbines, watching a few videos after we had a preliminary discussion on how we think the wind works. Being a coastal neighborhood, the kids were excited to learn that wind turbines can exist in the water as well as on land.

Homemade turbine. A cork, paper clips, cardboard, rubber bands, motor, and battery.

In the older classrooms we had the students make the blades of the turbine and test out how the size and shape affected air flow.

They figured out that if the blades are parallel to the ground, they can feel more air on the top and bottom. Whereas if they face perpendicular to the ground, they felt more air on the side pushing outward.
Longer blades meant a slower rotation. After the first few made long blades everybody switched to short to see how fast it could spin.

Greenway & Stormwater

Friday, March 22, climate educators from the Climate NaTURE program took the McKay Elementary 5th graders for a walk on the East Boston Greenway on a rainy day (with ponchos, of course!) to the harbor to explore what happens to the rain on the Greenway. We observed and talked as we walked to point out how vegetation along the Greenway absorbs the rainwater (or not). The children had some great questions about green infrastructure and made some very insightful comments about implementing some better solutions to absorb extreme stormwater as well as flooding from storms. We made it to the East Boston waterfront and back (a bit soggy) but had a refreshing walk and talk about improving our Greenway from further climate impacts.  We also discussed the temporary flood wall that the City of Boston is ready to deploy under the Maverick Street overpass and how many homes it would protect.