RCSD Summer Roc Explorers Nature-Based Learning

This summer Rochester Ecology Partners is collaborating with the Rochester City School District to offer Nature-Based Learning to every child in the Summer Discovery program. The goal of this collaboration is improved wellness, academic achievement and community relationships for students. Activities will align with standards and the New York state Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework.

There are three elements to our work. Teachers are provided with one week of nature-based curriculum for students to do in or outside of the classroom, nature-based learning educators will be available to facilitate nature-based learning at schools, and each class will participate in a day long nature-based field study in Ellison Park.

 

Request Support

Complete the google form to request support from our NBL Educators.

Reach Out to Kara Miller

For support with nature-based learning email Kara Miller – karena.miller@rcsdk12.org

Nature Week Post Survey

We truly value your feedback as fellow educators and would love for you to complete this brief survey. Doing so will enter your name in an awesome raffle with a chance to win a $25 gift card to either Laughing Gull ChocolatesREIHippocampo bookstore, or Amazon (your choice)!

Curriculum

Click Each Title to See Curriculum Links

Or click here to view them in the Google Folder

Senses: Deer Ears and Owl Eyes

Concept

Animals often have heightened senses that are used to aid in their survival. In this lesson we will learn more about some of these super senses and the different ways these senses help the animal survive and thrive in their environment. We will use our own senses to explore our natural surroundings and learn more about how we interact with our environment.

Goals/Objectives:

  • Students will consider how their senses contribute to their understanding of their environment.
  • Students will understand how different animals’ heightened senses help them survive in their environment.

Files

 

Available Materials

These materials are available to use along with REP Nature Lessons. Materials in kits are meant to be shared within grade levels and need to be returned at the end of the day. Return any extra “grab” items as well.

If you have questions, need something else, or want extra support, please leave a note for the REP staff, or contact Karena Miller.

  • In the bag:
    Mystery Smells
    (Ziploc Bag with scent-filled film canisters)
  • Need to grab/print:
    Taste Test Items
    4 bags of dried fruit
    1/class of 15
    SMELL/TASTE station Chart (optional)
Pollinators and Flowers

Concept

The relationship between pollinators and the pollinated (flowering plants) is a good example of how living things work together to create balanced ecosystems. Pollination by animals (pollinators) is a mutually beneficial process that provides nutrition for pollinators and the production of the next generation, including seeds and fruit for flowering plants. This lesson will introduce this relationship to students and will give them an opportunity to explore the structure of flowers, the different kinds of pollinators and the importance of pollination to people.

Goals/Objectives:

  • I can understand that different kinds of relationships exist in nature.
  • I can explain that the relationship between flowers and pollinators is mutually beneficial. 
  • I can understand the role pollinators play in ecosystems.
  • I can compare different pollinators and their plants.

Files

Materials

These materials are available to use along with REP Nature Lessons. Materials in kits are meant to be shared within grade levels and need to be returned at the end of the day. Return any extra “grab” items as well. 

If you have questions, need something else, or want extra support, please leave a note for the REP staff, or contact Karena Miller.

  • In the Bag
    Magnifying glasses
    Paper plates
  • Need to Grab/Print:
    Journal page
    Flower (1 per student)
    Pollinator pairing activity cards
Soil and Plants

Concept

Soil is part of the cycle of life. It is made of previously living material and living organisms. It is an essential foundation for our ecosystems. In this lesson students will explore what makes soil, soil, and how plants extend their roots into the soil to develop an understanding of why soil is so great.

Goals/Objectives

  • I can understand what soil is.
  • I can compare different types of soil and sediment.
  • I can understand the relationship between plants and soil.
  • I can understand why healthy soil is important.

Files

Materials

These materials are available to use along with REP Nature Lessons. Materials in kits are meant to be shared within grade levels and need to be returned at the end of the day. Return any extra “grab” items as well. 

If you have questions, need something else, or want extra support, please leave a note for the REP staff, or contact Karena Miller. 

  • In the Crate:
    Sample 1- soil
    Sample 2- sand
    Magnifying glasses
    Plastic Spoons
    Plastic trays (1 or 2 per class)
  • Need to Grab/Print:
    Bean plants (1 or 2 per class)
    Newspaper (opt)
Water is Life: We need Clean Water

Concept

In this lesson students will consider how water is important to people and life in general while building an understanding of why clean water is important. The lesson ends with an activity that has them advocating for clean water.

Goals/Objectives

  • I can understand the role of water in our lives.
  • I can recognize the importance of clean water for healthy communities (human and wild).
  • I can advocate for clean water.

Files

Materials

These materials are available to use along with REP Nature Lessons. Materials in kits are meant to be shared within grade levels and need to be returned at the end of the day. Return any extra “grab” items as well. 

If you have questions, need something else, or want extra support, please leave a note for the REP staff, or contact Karena Miller. 

  • A copy of book We Are Water Protectors is available for read aloud upon request.
    Need to Grab/print
    Water use game board: Water Matching Game.pdf

 

Nature and Community Summer Discovery Unit

Description

Students will engage in lessons that lead to experiences with and about nature as a way to understand what it means to be a member of an ecological community. They will explore how we sense nature, the different relationships that exist between organisms, and the role of natural resources like water, and compare different ecosystems. Learning and understanding of their role will be developed and assessed through nature-based learning activities, discussion, and writing. The in-class lessons are designed to be delivered by classroom teachers with the support of Nature-based learning educators provided by Rochester Ecology Partners. The field expedition will be lead by REP’s staff in collaboration with summer school educators.

Guiding Questions

  • How have history and the environment shaped our community?
  • How do I connect with my community?
  • What can I do to positively contribute to my community?
  • How can I demonstrate care and empathy for others in and beyond my community?

Learning Targets

  • I can explore the natural world with my senses.
  • I can understand the relationships that exist in the natural world.
  • I can compare and contrast elements of ecological communities.
  • I can make connections between biological and human communities.
  • I can use written and spoken language to express my connection to nature.
  • I can express care and empathy for nature through my actions.

Lessons

Deer Ears and Owl Eyes: Using Our Senses to Explore the World Every class will be guided in this lesson by our Nature-based learning educators. Students will get outside onto the school grounds to tune their senses in preparation for the field-study.
Pollination and Flowers Our nature-based learning educators can assist your class with a scavenger hunt for flowers and pollinators on the school grounds or support the investigation of flowers in the classroom.
Soil and Plants Students can take their study of soil and plants outdoors with our NBL educators by investigating what is under the surface in school gardens and yards.
Water is Life Water can be messy. Our NBL educators can support your class with activities that explore the importance of water and how we keep it clean.
Professional Learning and Coaching Our NBL coach and educators will work with you to prepare for NBL lessons and incorporate your ideas.

Ellison Park Field Study

Every grade has been assigned a day to visit Ellison Park with us. We will have the staff and plan to facilitate learning about the different ecosystems found in the park.

Itinerary

  • Opening Circle
  • Activity 1 – Forest / Field / Creek Rotation
  • Activity 2 – Forest / Field / Creek Rotation
  • Lunch
  • Final Products and Closing Circle
    • Video and Photography / Writing / Visual Arts
  • Play / Games

 

Who are the Rochester Ecology Partners?

Rochester Ecology Partners is a non-profit that serves people in Greater Rochester through nature-based learning and activities that cultivate community connectedness. We believe that integrated and innovative approaches to helping people find nature where they live, work, and play can improve our community’s capacity to co-create a bright and hopeful future.

Please reach out to contact@rocecology.org or 585-563-9604 with any questions.

Our team:

Chris Widmaier – Executive Director

Lindsay Clark – Program Development Manager

Kara Miller – Nature-based Learning Coach

Kyra Stephenson – Nature-based Learning Lead Educator

In School Nature-based Learning Support

Skylor Meldrum – Nature-based Learning Educator

Casey Franklin – Nature-based Learning Educator

Shahida Zechariah – Nature-based Learning Educator

Field Expedition Staff

Timmy Okung – Nature-Based Learning Educator

Jenna Chew – Nature-based Learning Educator

Lauren Goulet – Nature-based Learning Educator

Victoria Okung – Nature-based Learning Educator

Thomas Minahan – Program Assistant

Joshua Ward – Program Assistant

Wesley Bruce – Program Assistant

 

Thank you to our Partners and Supporters

  • Monroe County Parks Department for providing discounted use of pavillions
  • New York Department of Environmental Conservation for providing nature-based reading materials
  • City Blue Imaging for printing our nature journal at a reduced price
  • Ann McMican and the Third Presbyterian Yoga Class for providing funding for books
  • Harris Seeds for providing bean seeds to explore how plants grow in the soil
  • A variety of neighbors for providing flowers
  • Rainwater Farms for providing flowers
  • Sunscape Farms for providing flowers