Second Graders are Field Researchers in Interdisciplinary Ecosystem Study at Garvies Point

(Photos Below)

For the last two months of school, second graders at Glenwood Landing have been participating in an interdisciplinary Ecosystems study under the direction of Audra Marcantonio, School-wide Enrichment Services Teacher, in conjunction with their teachers.

As part of the Performance Assessment Design Initiative (PADI), second graders have been researching a number of questions including, “Is balance essential?,” “How can we as scientists push ourselves to grow from novice field researchers to the expert level?," "How can we question, observe, record data, synthesize parts, and draw conclusions as scientists?, "How do parts of a system work interdependently and dependently?,” “How do individuals and communities impact interdependence and balance of ecosystems?,” How do ecosystems differ and how are they similar?,” and How Do Field Researchers learn, investigate, and take action?”

To answer these questions and many more, the young students at Glenwood Landing have become scientific field researchers, keeping journals, making observations, developing an action plan, and reporting results as they study scientific ecosystems based on the Next Generation Science Standards.

To do so, they have had to identify problems in our ecosystems (both in and out of school) while developing skillsets necessary to become successful scientific field researchers. Some of the necessary skillsets include brainstorming solutions, gathering data, observing patterns, identifying problems, recording/labeling information, drawing conclusions, making inferences, and evaluating the strongest possible options. In addition, students have had to work together and collaborate as well as create rubrics to determine the components of an ecosystem and its relationships between its working parts. Consistent with the District’s Shared Valued Outcomes (SVOs), the second graders have also become better communicators, problem solvers, collaborators, innovators, and committed individuals as a result of this grade level PADI initiative.

Thanks to Enrichment Teacher Audra Marcantonio and their second grade teachers, Sue Burmeister, Rebecca Edelstein, Eleni Mantikas, Debbie Minicozzi, and Claudia Rienzo, the GWL students have had the opportunity to participate in this interdisciplinary ecosystem study two times during a six-day cycle. They have gone out into the environment to locations such the woodlands habitat behind GWL and Garvies Point to gather data, make field observations in their journals. Additionally, they have learned key vocabulary terms including adaptation, biotic, abiotic, cultural, decomposers, dependent, erosion, ecosystem, field research, interdependence, global warming, organism, symbiotic, species, structure, and human footprint. While in the field, they also sketched in their journals their observations and drew the abiotic and biotic parts of the ecosystems while analyzing how the parts of the individual ecosystems synthesize.

If you have not already, please ask your Glenwood Landing second graders about their observations and experiences as scientific field researchers. Ask them what they explored, researched, and concluded in the various ecosystems that they visited. Their scientific conclusions may surprise you!

Article provided by Ms. Audra Marcantonio 

Photos by Shelly Newman and the 2nd grade teachers at Glenwood Landing School

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