Lake Erie . Crafting Excellence . Compost

This week the class traveled to the Lake Erie Metropark Marina to study Lake Erie, the body of water that the Huron River empties into. When we think about the health of our water it’s important to think about the bodies of water and communities both up river and down river from us.

The boat took us out on Lake Erie where students measured the surface temperature and carbon dioxide levels of the water with an eye towards what these can tell us about the health of the lake. They also explored the bottom of the lake with an underwater camera. Plankton was also a focus as it makes up an essential aspect of the ecosystem.
Using maps and other navigational charts the students explored the way the captain navigates the waters and the importance of rainfall in the Great Lakes Basin and the environmental impact that too little can have on the ecosystem.
We also began to think about how to build excellence and the role of critique and review in that process. We reviewed what excellence meant to us and then watched a video as a first-grade child drafted and revised a drawing of a butterfly. The kids noted the incremental improvements, the ways and kinds of feedback given, and what would take each draft closer to excellence.
The student ended up making six drafts of the piece and the difference between the first and last was astonishing. When discussing why the teacher didn’t just accept the second draft, given that improvements were made, students in our class had thoughtful responses. A few offered the idea that to accept the second draft as the final would be like “giving up” on the student and not helping them achieve their full potential.
Finally, a huge thank you to Mark (Max’s dad) for helping us repair the lid for the compost bin.  We are looking forward to composting our food scraps and helping build soil.

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