We’re about to embark upon an interesting adventure. With ECO Schools, this year’s focus is on greening. Not necessarily just going out and buying tulips but to analyze individual school ground for various patterns like sun/shade, wind tendencies, etc. and more. The goal is to make intelligent decisions about where and what to use in greening for sustainability.
I was approached by our Science and Technology consultant about how to do this.
The original though was to use overhead projector and marking pens. Quickly, we ditched that concept.
Geography is the world of layers. So, we threw that and SMART Boards into the mix and came up with what I think will be a killer day.
Here’s what’s about to happen.
We have created Notebook files with overhead images of school properties and created one for each school with their own images. Each school’s Notebook has multiple pages of their property. Working with a key teacher, principal, community partner and importantly, a group of students, they will analyze their school and create overlays. One will identify active and passive play areas; another looks at sun paths and shade areas in the morning, noon, and afternoon; another looks at permanent structures; another at existing growing areas; and so on. Using each page, the group will use the SMART Board and the legend that we created to outline the various areas.
Each one of these pages becomes a layer which will be added to a composite diagram. Eventually, all of the layers will be brought to the composite layer so that a complete picture of the grounds can be seen. They’ll be properly identified and from there decisions about greening can be made. There will be some interesting things that come from this, we hope. Why is that area of the playground so hot? If we had to plant a tree to protect from UV, where would it go? Certainly not in the middle of a pathway!
In addition to the mapping layers, there are a number of activities that we’ve pulled from the Gallery to incorporate mathematics, literacy, and social studies into the already rich area of science. Each mapping layer also has a page for taking notes. The completed document should serve as a starting point for future conversations about greening and sustainability.
So, each of the school groups will be brought to a central location to work through this and some other activities with corporate and environmental partners. It will take three days with each school taking half a day to get started before returning to the school to devise ways to collect the required information.
When it’s all done, the Notebook will allow for printing, creating PDF files or even webpages to display the results. I think it’s going to be exciting and it all starts in about four hours. I’ll update this post tonight to record my observations from Day 1.
Tags: ECOSchools, SMART Boards, Science