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Five Rivers study streamlines Next Generation Science Standards at Glenmont

Filed in District News, Glenmont by on October 6, 2017

Student holds up a clear jar with an aquatic creature in it.On Friday, September 22, 67 fourth graders from Glenmont Elementary went on a field trip to Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar where students learned about a stream ecosystem by investigating its habitat, including stream flow and erosion patterns as well as aquatic organisms as a part of a curriculum aligned to the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The NGSS are K–12 science content standards that set expectations for what students should know and be able to do. They call for a three-dimensional approach to science instruction which include: developing an argument, understanding core ideas/messages, and making connections between different areas of science.

Before the NGSS, students learned about ecosystems in isolation within the classroom. For the Five Rivers study, students waded in the stream to measure depth and flow, collected aquatic organisms, and used their observational skills to draw conclusions about the health of the stream.

“Students loved the hands on part of the lesson,” said Glenmont Elementary fourth grade teacher Mary Martin. “Going in the stream, observing the aquatic animals up close, learning how to record data in steps and the teachers loved the fact that it was in an authentic habitat.”

While at Five Rivers, students were asked to answer one question: Is the stream healthy or not?

With that single question, the students learned the meaning of terms like aquatic ecosystem, habitat and creatures; the difference between a riffle and a pool; and, most importantly, the interdependence of science, engineering and technology.

Martin said that students were able to connect how a person buying and developing land near a similar ecosystem to that of Five Rivers might affect the habitat.

Hands reaching into a bucket with a frog in itJennifer Gonyea, the district’s K-12 science and technology supervisor, said a high-quality science education means that students will develop an in-depth understanding of content and develop key skills like communication, collaboration, inquiry, problem solving, and flexibility. These skills serve them throughout their educational and professional lives.

“We hope to develop more learning opportunities similar to Five Rivers,” said Gonyea. “Our goal is to expose students to local phenomena and to have them engaged and critically thinking about the science that is all around them.”

Next up is Eagle Elementary who will be visiting Five Rivers in the spring!

View more photos from Five Rivers on the district’s Facebook page.