Heather Buxton

This year I have taken my students on a couple trips outside of their neighborhood and I have come to realize how few of them have a concept of what exists outside of a ten block radius surrounding our school. My goal for this project is to not only teach science in an engaging and memorable way but to teach my Living Environment students to think beyond what they are used to seeing in their current surroundings. I was struck by the Manahatta project in our last semester and have tried to incorporate this into a community experience through multiple trips to Inwood Park (a park located off the A train near 207th and broadway). I would like my students to experience Manhattan in a unique way by interacting with nature in Inwood Park.

Goals for students within this interaction
1. Preliminary goal: develop engagement, interest and comfort level with the forest through a scavenger hunt
2. Classify a portion of the park (practice using a compass and GPS system and classify vegetation)---> Resource found on "Globe"
3. Run transects through small areas of the park to monitor the diversity of plants and insects
4. Make observations and collect data in a small area of the forest (This would occur over 4 visits) and students would compose a field notebook that would be used to address content throughout the course. Students would also practice lab skills by taking soil samples back to the classroom for further analysis
-Students would analyze the moisture content of soil samples
-Students would analyze the pH of soil
5. Learn content through lessons that utilize forest surroundings
-Competition for resources: Oh deer game (takes place in forest) and discussion follows in classroom
-Photosynthesis (have students collect data through transects to show that plants tend to prosper where light is available). Data collection occurs in forest and discussion occurs in classroom
-Food webs: students make their own food webs based on interactions that they observe through monitoring a small area of the forest. (Observations occur in forest and writing of food web occurs in class)
-Categorize what is observed into abiotic and biotic factors (Students use observations in field notebook to categorize in the class)

Because this trip is more or less free I would like this park to be an ongoing theme for my class. The field notebook that students would generate would be consulted throughout the course to make the content more meaningful. I have not flushed out the time frame yet but I was thinking the goals could be met over the course of a year through 4-5 trips....