Studying the effects of climate change on different regions throughout the United States led to three classes at Shelter Rock School working with college students and professors from Western Connecticut State University.
Since January, 65 students from three classes – a third-, a fourth- and a fifth-grade class – have spent three days a week in the elementary school’s media center learning about weather and climate change. There are 13 groups of five students and the projects vary from posters to “televised” weather forecasts. The project will culminate with a school-wide presentation next month with parents invited.
Shelter Rock interim principal Dawn Bartz said that the collaboration was to promote inquiry-based learning at the elementary-school level. Students find solutions to real-life problems with working in groups, working with experts in the field, asking questions, conducting research and creating varied solutions.
“This approach to learning allows students to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills while creating solutions or answering driving questions,” Bartz said. “These are all higher-level thinking skills. I am very proud of the students as they really dug into this project and have conducted very high-quality work. The teacher collaborations at Shelter Rock are absolutely vital to pushing our school forward.”
The project combines science (studying weather), social studies (studying regions in the U.S.), and technology (using multi-media). The students also use their skills in reading, writing, collaborating, researching and critical thinking.
“We’ve been using our writing, reading and social studies curriculum to prepare them,” said third-grade teacher Shaniese Carter. “This is preparing them for real-world learning and working in a group with different opinions.”
WCSU meteorology professors Gary Lessor and Albert Owino and biology professor Mitch Wagener have given presentations to the students on weather, meteorology, and climate change. With the help of several WCSU meteorology majors, the Shelter Rock students researched and read about weather and climate change before launching into action.
“We discussed what we learned and came up with a script,” said fifth-grader Anna Franca. She was wearing a winter jacket on a warm May day so that she could relay information in front of a camera about an impending blizzard.
The weather desk anchor, fifth-grader Isabella Oliveria, said “we learned about climate change and that it effects weather around the world.”