Learning Science in the Next Generation
How do we create scientists out of students? Children are natural scientists. They are curious about the world around them and how things work. They are constantly observing, predicting, testing, and making conclusions. At Mound, we build upon that natural curiosity by leading students through the scientific method and engineering practices as early as kindergarten, using the Next Generation Science Standards. The supplemental science curriculum at Mound is FOSS (Full Option Science System), which emphasizes learning by doing and keeping science notebooks like adult scientists do. In addition, students experience engineering projects from EiE (Engineering is Elementary), Mystery Science, and teacher-created units.
How does Mound's science program help create Global Citizens? Whenever possible, students make global connections in science and engineering. These connections include designing water filters that could be used in a village in rural India and tracking weather patterns around the world. Learning also focuses on interconnectedness, which is the way living and nonliving factors affect each other. Interconnectedness is one principle of Global Citizenship. When students begin to understand how our actions affect the world around us, they will become better stewards of the world's ecosystems.
How do Mound's Learning Gardens support science? Each grade level has an outdoor area in which to learn firsthand about plants and ecosystems. In addition, agriculture, a vital local industry, ties together our dual themes of Science and Global Citizenship. Mound students will visit a farm or agricultural center every year to support their learning. During these field trips, they might investigate life cycles of pumpkins and lemon trees, witness alternative forms of energy, or learn about the history of agriculture in Ventura County.
Outdoor Learning Opportunities
Where does your garden grow? Every grade level at Mound has a designated learning garden. Kindergartners grow vegetables and flowers right outside their own classrooms, while first and second graders farm the central garden boxes. Third graders are the stewards of the beautiful butterfly garden and Monarch Way Station. In fourth grade, students study plant adaptations in the native species garden. Fifth graders experiment with aquaponic farming in their specially-designed greenhouse.
What do Mound students learn from their gardens? Students use their gardening experiences to study Next Generation Science Standards topics such as parts of plants and their uses, life cycles of plants and insects, animal and plant adaptations, ways to prevent erosion, alternative forms of energy, and how ecosystems function. They also integrate their gardening experiences into other subjects, including math, language arts, health, and computer science.
How do Mound's learning gardens grow Global Citizens? By studying agriculture and botany, Mound students will grow up being more prepared to help address the world's Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Specifically, they will have a foundation in Goal #2: Zero Hunger; Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being; Goal #7: Affordable and Clean Energy; Goal #9: Industry , Innovation, and Infrastructure; Goal #11: Sustainable Cities and Communities; Goal #12: Responsible Consumption and Production; and Goal #15: Life on Land. (www.globalgoals.org)
Learning to Take Care of Ourselves, Each Other, and the World
What is Global Citizenship? According to Oxfam and UNICEF, Global Citizens are people who understand how the world works and their role in taking care of it. They respect and value diversity, challenge injustice, and take responsibility for their actions. These are the people who speak up for others and step forward to help make the world a better place.
How does Mound help create Global Citizens? At Mound, all students learn the basic principles of being a global citizen in kid-friendly language. The staff reinforces the idea of students being "Upstanders" who stand up against injustice they see around them. In addition, the classroom culture emphasizes respecting different perspectives. Students learn to listen to each other during class discussions and to always be respectful, even when they disagree. Finally, Mound students have participated in a variety of service learning projects, from visiting local retirement communities in kindergarten to raising money and awareness for global issues in the upper grades.
How does science support Global Citizenship? As Mound students learn about how the natural world works, they will also learn their role in taking care of earth's systems. This process begins at the smallest level in kindergarten, as students learn about earthworms, what they need to survive, and how they affect our soil. The kindergartners then learn to take care of these creatures when they see them on sidewalks after it rains. Second graders study erosion and learn that they can plant vegetation on local hillsides to prevent mudslides. Fifth graders study a sustainable farming system called aquaponics that could be used in countries with perpetual drought. These are just some examples of Mound's exciting science and engineering projects that promote the principles of global citizenship.
Tools for Learning and Collaborating
What technology tools are available to Mound students? Mound students benefit from many technology tools from kindergarten to fifth grade. On any given day, you may find Mound third-graders using Chromebooks to research weather patterns online, or fifth-graders recording news reports about changes to local ecosystems. Our fourth and fifth grade classrooms are configured with multiple monitors to allow the spaces to become more student-centered and collaborative.
How do these technology tools support the theme of Science and Global Citizenship? Being a Global Citizen means being aware of the wider world and understanding our roles in it. Thanks to the internet, of course, the world is more accessible than ever. In addition to real-world field trips, Mound students take virtual field trips in which they are able to ask a variety of experts their questions directly. Technology tools are also used as a platform for student collaboration within the classroom. Global Citizens need to be able to work with others, valuing diverse perspectives and respecting each other's ideas.