Thursday, June 16, 2016

Explore the Fascinating World of Grasshoppers


Take children outside to a grassy area to look for and observe grasshoppers. Have children bring their own notebooks or field/nature journals to draw pictures or make notes in.  Remind children to be respectful of the grasshoppers. Survey which plants they grasshoppers are eating. Find out where they hide.
 
Create a terrarium together that will house several grasshoppers for a week. Use soil and grass (return to field study area to collect or collect while out observing grasshoppers).  Include places for the grasshoppers to climb and hide. Providing water is not necessary because grasshoppers do not drink water, they get enough water from the food they eat.  Be sure to provide fresh grass or leafy plants, as well as dry food such as grass seed or oatmeal, every day for the grasshoppers to eat. Let the children be active participants in setting up the terrarium. Tips for terrarium preparation and care are available on the Growing Up WILD website.
 
Once your terrarium is set up, return to your grasshopper field study location and carefully capture and collect four to six grasshoppers using insect nets and bug jars. Place the grasshoppers in the terrarium.
 
Over the course of a week give children time every day to observe and monitor the grasshoppers. Ask:  What do you want to learn about grasshoppers? How can you find out the answers to your questions? For younger children you may want to have a set observation for each day.  For example, Day One: observe the grasshopper’s bodies. What do you notice? Count the legs and antennae. How can you tell the grasshoppers have wings? Describe their eyes Day Two: observe the movement of the grasshoppers. Describe how the grasshoppers walk. How do they jump? Are they fast? Do they jump high/far?
 
At the end of the week when the study is over, return the grasshoppers to the location where you collected them.  Use the information you gathered as a class to create your own book about grasshoppers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Trees For Kids Grant Available For Fall

Trees For Kids grant applications are now available for the fall 2016 grant cycle. The Trees For Kids grant program is designed to provide hands-on educational opportunities for Iowa youth by planting trees on school grounds and other public places. 

Iowa DNR forestry staff are currently setting up site visits with schools and communities interested in applying for the grant, which pays up to $5,000 in tree and mulch cost, and provides educational tree planting demonstrations to participating adults and youth.

This past spring, 20 schools and/or communities received more than $62,000 in Trees For Kids grants to plant more than 900 trees around the state.  Over the life of these trees, they will save more than 310,000 kilowatt hours of electricity by shading buildings and more than 68,000 therms, by slowing winds and reducing building heat loss.   

During their lifespan, the 900 trees planted this spring will help reduce flooding by intercepting more than 39.8 million gallons of storm water, and will reduce more than 5.3 million pounds of atmospheric carbon dioxide through CO2 sequestration and decreased energy production needs and emissions. 

Trees planted around schools and in neighborhoods have also shown to give youth increased levels of concentration, lower levels of aggression, lower levels of obesity and fewer symptoms of ADHD.  Communities are made more livable by having a healthy, diverse tree canopy. 

To download the grant application, go to:  http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/Forestry/UrbanForestry.aspx

For more information, contact Laura Wagner, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Forestry Bureau, at 515-725-8456.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Reconnecting Children with Nature: Growing Up WILD Early Childhood Training


This workshop leads you out the door and provides hands on activities and resource materials to help you lead your own nature explorations. Addresses CDA Content Area 2—Steps to advance children’s physical and intellectual development.
Growing Up WILD activities use age appropriate practices and concepts to build on children’s sense of wonder and invites them to explore nature and the world around them. Specially written for children 3-7, activities include sections to address many learning areas: math, science, language, literacy, health living, play, and creativity.

Growing Up WILD received the 2009 Family Choice Award and the 2011 Renewable Natural Resource Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award.

July 5, 2016
8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Marnie Simons Elementary (309 South Street, Hamburg)
Registration: Call the Fremont County Extension Office at 712-374-2351.
Cost: $15; Send registration fee by Wednesday, June 29 to: Fremont County Extension, 610 Clay Street, Box 420, Sidney, IA 51652
 
July 17, 2016
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Annett Nature Center (15565 118th Ave., Indianola)
Cost: $30 (Training fee and snack supplies covered by Warren CCB)
Registration: Contact Karen Johlas-Szalkowski, Warren County Conservation Board - karenjohlas-szalkowski@warrenccb.org, (515) 961-6169 Ext 206

 




Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Iowa Students Recognized for Iowa State-Fish Drawings

Grades K-3 Winner
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources partnered with the Wildlife Forever® State-Fish Art® Contest to host an Iowa State-Fish Art Contest.

The State-Fish Art Contest uses art to ignite children’s imagination while teaching them about fish and fishing. Entries showcased students’ favorite Iowa fish in its natural habitat. All entries were original hand-done artwork. Winners were selected based on creative expression, originality, visual appeal, and artistic merit. 

Individual winners:
Grades K-3
1st Place – Anne S., Homeschool
2nd Place – Madalyn S., St Mary & Mathias Catholic School
3rd Place – Katarina W., Benton Community Schools
                 
Grades 4-6
1st Place – Henri G., St Mary & Mathias Catholic School
2nd Place – Heidi E., Allamakee Community Schools
3rd Place – Elly V., West Marshall Community Schools

Grades 7-9
1st Place – Carmen A., Benton Community Schools
2nd Place – Clayton S., West Marshall Community Schools
3rd Place – Jaiden H., West Marshall Community Schools

Grades 10-12
1st Place – Gayeon C., Regina Catholic Education Center


Artists who placed first in their age group will be honored with the display of their artwork on the prestigious Wall of Fame during the Forrest L. Wood Cup bass world championship on August 5-7 in Huntsville, Alabama. Every participant will receive a Certificate of Recognition. 

Digital images of Iowa’s winning artwork are posted on the State Fish Art Contest website.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Reconnecting Children with Nature: Growing Up WILD Early Childhood Training

This workshop leads you out the door and provides hands on activities and resource materials to help you lead your own nature explorations. Growing Up WILD activities use age appropriate practices and concepts to build on children’s sense of wonder and invites them to explore nature and the world around them. Specially written for children 3-7, activities include sections to address many learning areas: math, science, language, literacy, health living, play, and creativity.
 
Growing Up WILD received the 2009 Family Choice Award and the 2011 Renewable Natural Resource Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award.

June 4 , 2016
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Shelter House - Walden Campground (2303 450th St, Wallingford)
Registration:Contact Monique Ortiz, Mid-Sioux Opportunity - mortiz@midsioux.org,  712-786-3429
Cost: $35
Addresses CDA Content Area 2—Steps to advance children’s physical and intellectual development.

 

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

GreenSchools for Early Childhood

Project Learning Tree’s GreenSchools for Early Childhood program specifically is designed to teach young children about their environment and how they can make a difference, while developing their skills in language, mathematics, and science.

To access the materials, visit https://www.plt.org/green-schools-early-childhood and login or create an account (it’s free).

The Educator Guide offers ideas and activities for early childhood educators to green their centers while facilitating environmental experiences with their students through art, movement, sensory exploration, and time outdoors – all of which are inherently appealing to young children. You’ll learn about the benefits of becoming a PLT GreenSchool, how to engage parents at your center, ways to assess your students’ learning and how to celebrate your success. 

Five Investigations will involve your students in helping to green your center while developing their skills in language, mathematics, science, and more. Explore what individual and collective actions you and your students can take to improve the health, safety, and environmental quality of your school or early childhood center. You'll discover how reducing your school's environmental footprint is not only good for your health, your children’s health, and the health of the environment, but also can save your school money. 
  • Energy: Investigate how much energy your center uses, the main sources of that energy and ways to implement energy-saving strategies.
  • Environmental Quality: Investigate areas where improvements can be made in indoor and outdoor air quality, in your centers carbon dioxide and temperature levels, how cleaning products can impact your air quality and what practices need to be followed regarding the use of hazardous materials.
  • School Site: Investigate natural habitats, wildlife, trees, grounds maintenance practices and ways to make improvements to your center’s site.
  • Waste and Recycling: Investigate how much waste your center generates and where it goes, as well as recycling and composting efforts.
  • Water: Investigate the source, cost, and quality of your school's water supply and ways to enhance current water conservation practices.
Each GreenSchools for Early Childhood investigation includes:
  • Background information for educators and a checklist of supplies needed
  • Early Childhood Engagement activities to involve your learners in the investigation
  • Early Learner Worksheets
  • Action project ideas, including a My Action Plan worksheet for children ages 4 to 8
  • A Green Your Home handout to extend the learning and help families learn how they can improve their home environment.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

PLT Seeks K-2 Teachers to Review New Science Unit

Project Learning Tree is seeking Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 classroom teachers to review a new, online instructional unit for students at these grade levels. The K-2 unit, called Treemendous Science!, will invite students (and their teachers) to explore, experience, observe, and collect tree data to develop understandings about how trees grow, roles they play in ecological systems, and the ways in which trees and humans interact.

K-2 classroom teachers interested in reviewing PLT’s new Treemendous Science! unit this summer are invited to complete a brief application at http://pltpilot.org by May 31, 2016.
 
Accepted K-2 practitioners will be asked to review the draft Treemendous Science! unit for their specific grade level (Kindergarten, Grade 1, or Grade 2). You will be asked about certain common unit components (such as unit introduction, teacher background, learning centers, and green schools connections), as well as the customized age-level specific instructional content.

Selected practitioners will not be asked to field test any of the content, rather they will be asked to read, review, and respond to detailed questionnaires. Stipends are available for all accepted selected K-2 participants, based upon the successful completion of all project components. 

National PLT will confirm teacher participants in June, and the review period will last approximately 6-8 weeks immediately following (approximately July – August). Classroom teachers of Grades K-2 will be given priority.

Treemendous Science! is truly novel in its approach, as it was constructed around—rather than correlated to—targeted Performance Expectations within the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

NGSS Performance Expectations
Created for kindergarten to second grade classrooms, Treemendous Science! is built around the following NGSS Performance Expectations:

 
 
Review