Field Trip to the Ark Nature Centre/Arkki Luontotalo

September 4th – 8th was Environmental Awareness Week. To learn about what we can do to improve our environment, English Class second graders visited the Ark Nature Centre to learn about recycling. The pupils learned about re-using and re-purposing also . Then they watched a video about plastic.

Plastic is all around us and we use it every day. We also throw away an awful lot of plastic. That is a problem because plastic doesn’t really disappear because plastics do not easily degrade. They may break down, but only into smaller pieces. The smaller those pieces get, the more places they can go. That causes problems in the environment.

After the pupils learned about plastic and the problems that it can cause, they searched for plastic waste that was littering places in the museum. They quickly and efficiently gathered all the plastic waste.

Once all the litter was gathered, pupils were free to check out the animal exhibits. Before they left to return to school each pupil drew an animal that they saw at the museum.

Bird-watching in the Park

The third week of May was National Bird Week for children, which is organized by Finland’s Nature League and Bird-Life Finland. With a few sets of binoculars and their camera phones, English Class second graders set off to do some bird-watching in a nearby park.

The children quickly found several nests. Some nests were abandoned and some were very much occupied.  One fieldfare (räkettirastas) in particular, set up quite an alarm when a couple of children and Ms. Sylvia approached its nest to take photographs. Ms. Sylvia used a special lens on her camera to get some of the pictures included in these photo collages.

Among the birds that we saw were a black crow, chaffinches, common wood pigeons, wrens, pigeons, fieldfares, a European magpie and a couple of wagtails. The second graders were very enthusiastic about their bird-watching experiences. They found a total of four active bird nests and two inactive nests. Although some birds were already hatching their eggs, other species of birds were still in the stages of building or repairing their nests.

All in all the children were surprised by how much bird activity there was in a local park. Another surprise was how much fun it was to stand still and quietly observe!

Learning About Light

English Class fourth graders have been learning about the properties of light in their environmental studies classes with Mr. Gregg. They  created nifty hexagonal foldables to help learn some of the terms like prism, refraction and reflection, for example.  Another neat hands-on activity was creating two different types of rainbow spectrum spinners. One spinner type had a pencil poked through the centre of the coloured cardboard disc. The other spinner type was threaded on a loop of string. In the video clip below you can see the latter type in action.

As one fourth grader wrote in her spelling notebook for the word interesting, “Mr. Gregg’s environmental studies classes are interesting.”

 

Fourth Graders Get Their Hands into Composting

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English Classes fourth graders have been doing some studies about compost and composting. An investigation of mini-composers was set up in class using small sandwich bags that zip, water, shredded newspaper and lettuce. After making these  ‘mini-compost’ experiments in the class, the class made a field trip with their environmental studies teacher, Mr. Gregg, to Pori’s Waste Advisory Centre (Porin sedun jäteneuvonta) near Kirjurinluoto.

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Three friendly, informative guides taught us about the basics of composting. We already knew the basic ingredients that make up compost, and now we got to see the real thing. We learned about what types of things we can put into compost, and why it is so important to think carefully about what food we eat, how we can reduce the waste produced by us and our families, and more importantly, the impact that careless food waste can have on our environment and our future.

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It was surprising to discover that the average person creates around 24 kg of food waste per year. This may not sound like a lot, but that’s almost 100 kg of food waste per year for an average family of 4! We can potentially reduce this figure to zero if we compost our food waste by carefully choosing the quantity of food we buy, eat, and waste.

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If our food waste is composted, then it is not wasted! Compost creates life.

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This was a good opportunity for the fourth graders to get their hands dirty with some real compost work. It was a great opportunity to understand that one person alone cannot make a difference to our environment and our future, but if we all work together to reduce waste and be more sustainable, then there is a brighter future ahead for us and for future generations.