First graders in Ms. Smallwood's class read the book Recycling Glass by Scott Ryan to learn why glass is recycled and how new glass is made. After reading, students shared what they learned by working together to make webs and posters. First graders encourage each other to recycle at lunch time and at home.
Grade 2: Soil and Erosion
Second Grade students at Laurel Woods Elementary School learned about Soil and Erosion at the Howard County Conservancy. The students observed and compared soil characteristics found in Mt. Pleasant. Students were guided to look for signs of erosion through a nature walk and learned how erosion has changed the natural environment at Mt. Pleasant. Students were also given the opportunity to touch the different layers of soil and learned about the true importance of soil to our earth.
Grade 3: Green Team Club
Third grade students stay after school weekly for a green team enrichment program with Ms.Vitiello. Students have been involved in many school-wide initiatives such as the Elmer’s glue recycling program and paper recycling. Students also learned about the importance of composting and made a small composting bin. They also made commercials that focused on reducing, reusing and recycling at home and at school. The commercials were aired on the morning announcements. Green team continues to be a vital part of the school-wide green initiative and is looking forward to this year's Earth Day at Laurel Woods Elementary School!
Grade 4: Cherish the Chesapeake
In this Fourth grade unit, students investigated the physical, historical, economical and biological aspects of the Chesapeake Bay. They explored problems facing the Bay, including over-harvesting, invasive species, and recreational impacts to the health of the Bay. After reviewing possible solutions to the problems facing the Bay, students were presented with a real-world problem that they researched. They developed their own plans to help solve the problem, and created a model to demonstrate the proposed solution.
Grade 5 Science: Bay in a Beaker and Watershed Simulation
"This Bay in a Beaker is a simulation of the Chesapeake Bay. The elodea plant represents all living things in the ocean. The fertilizer represents nutrients that help the plants grow. One cup had 5 grams of fertilizer which is growing really healthy, not too much fertilizer. The other cup had 20 grams of fertilizer which is not good. The water is brownish and the plant is dying and the leaves are falling of. The last cup has 0 grams of fertilizer and it's not too bad and it's growing healthy. No forcing to grow it has sunlight too. So we are waiting to see what happens! " -Kelsey, 5th grader
"In our Science classes, we made a watershed. This watershed shows runoff and what all the pollution does to the fish and Bay. " -Patrick S.
"In Science we learned about watersheds and how throwing pollutants in a river in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed affects the whole Bay." - Karla M.
Grade 5: Riparian Buffer Field Trip
Each year, the fifth grade team has the unique opportunity to plant trees in Howard County that create a buffer, protecting the Chesapeake Watershed. This trip is a culmination of the Science Unit, "What Can We Do?" where they have studied factors that influence the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
"To help the environment, we are going on a field trip to plant buffers. Buffers are trees, bushes, and other plants that stop runoff. Like when it rains, the trash on the ground gets washed away. But if the buffers are in the way, the trash won't get into the oceans or lakes." -Aaron A.
Spring 2009 Planting trip
5th Grade Brighton Dam Field Trip
"In the fall we took a field trip to the Brighton Dam. I learned that there are such things as watersheds and water cycles." -Sydni V.
"The Brighton Dam field trip was exciting and we even learned about different animals such as birds, deer, and water foul. We learned what happens to their habitat when it's polluted." -Jenelle C.
Our talented Art teacher infuses her curriculum with environmental topics. Our fifth grade made Recycled Shoe Art by creating a sculpture out of shoes and other objects found at home. Mrs. Bram also incorporates Social Studies, Math and Language objectives in her Arts Integration program. Fourth graders created robots from recyclable objects. Our hallways are a constant reminder of the beauty of nature as art displays bring the outside world indoors.
Our media specialist Ms. McCormick has ordered a wide selection of recycling books available for students to check out from the media center. The media center has an entire section dedicated to non-fiction environmental books. A few of the titles include Cleaning up: How Trash Becomes Treasure by Eve Stwertka, Reusing Things by Sue Barraclough and The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon. A few of the fiction titles include Earth to Matthewby Paula Danziger, Big Band Sound by Harriet Diller and Dinah for President by Claudia Mills.
Our wonderful music teacher Ms.Barksdale has taught each grade the "Recycling Rap" by Teresa Jennings. The recycling rap was a easy way for students to learn how to keep our world healthy and clean. This has also inspired students to be part of the school-wide recycling initiative. All of the Laurel Woods students will be performing the song at the next Laurel Woods Earth Day in April.
MESA: We've Got the Power
Maryland MESA is a structured, K-12 precollege program designed to prepare students for careers in Mathematics, Engineering and Science. One of the MESA competitions is to effectively communicate the theme of "Going Green: We've Got the Power." A group of fourth and fifth grade girls researched the pros and cons of installing a renewable energy source in our school. They examined the science behind, and the costs of, wind energy and solar power. Their findings will be presented at the Howard County Regional MESA Day in April.
Zam’s Quest is a year-long multidisciplinary program designed to actively involve students in conservation. The curriculum leads students through various real and hypothetical conservation dilemmas. They are drawn into the curriculum through specifically designed role-playing, in which a variety of points of view on one issue are considered and debated. Students create a comic strip depicting a solution to a conservation issue that they research.
1. Green School Workshop Series
The Howard County Conservancy hosted teachers' workshops to support schools that are going green. The workshops focused on environmental education activities and explained the Green School application process. Two teachers from Laurel Woods attended to hear about support resources available to the schools, and make connections with other teachers. Among the presentations were representatives from the Howard County Recreation and Parks, the Howard County Conservancy, Master Gardeners, the Recycling Coordinator from the Department of Public Works, and the University of Maryland extension program.
On April 29, 2009, local supporters and providers of environmental education met with Howard County teachers and administrators to share programs and resources available to the community. Mrs. Zdrale represented Laurel Woods and heard presentations from the Ofice of Environmental Sustainability, the Patuxent River Keepers, the Columbia Association and the HCPSS Facilities Department. She was able to network with these professionals and other schools and take information back to share with the Green Team. Several connections were made for future environmental programs.
3. Staff Meeting- Nov. 6, 2009
Members of the Green Team met periodically throughout the school year to collaborate on our green school initiatives. The team presented to the whole staff on November 6. A powerpoint explained the Green School application process and demonstrated ways for the entire staff to be involved.
4. 2009 STEM Symposium
The 2009 STEM Symposium, on September 21, 2009, brought together more than 200 leaders from the Howard County Public School System to elevate STEM programs in the schools. Mrs. Zdrale and Assistant Principal Mrs. Wadsworth attended to network with other professionals and learn about other STEM initiatives in the school system. We collaborated with other Green Schools as well as outside agencies to learn of opportunities for student involvement and professional development.
Fifth grade teachers met at Talbot Springs ES to receive training for their upcoming Tree Planting field trip. Participants were given the information about the trip, as well as resources to use with students before the trip. Tips and ideaas for planning a successful trip were shared.
Each week on Thursdays, the lunch room trash is weighed and the grade level that reduces their weight the most, compared to the week before, wins the Trash-Free Thursday Trophy! The trophy was designed by third graders and constructed from recyclable materials. The winning team is announced on the morning podcasts, and the trophy is proudly displayed in the pod.
Earth Day Celebration- April 24, 2009
Last April, Laurel Woods celebrated Earth Day by involving the school and community in Environmental Activities. First and fourth graders colored our campus with plants and flowers donated by a local landscaping company. The fifth grade enjoyed a presentation from the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Every student enjoyed learning about insects from 2 community Entomologists, and visitors from the Health Department came to speak about recycling and healthy living. We are looking forward to expanding our celebration this year on April 23, 2010.
Art teacher Mrs. Bram designed our "Proud to be Green" t-shirts that staff proudly wear every Thursday. The LWES staff has been very excited to make our school green, and it is evident when they encourage their students to reduce, reuse and recycle!
First Grade Celebrates the Earth
First graders created a beautiful display to celebrate our Earth and inspire others to take care of our environment. On their traced hands, they wrote ways they contribute to keeping our Earth healthy and tips for a more beautiful community.
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