Today’s guest blogger is Iowa Learning Farms/Water Rocks! student intern Megan Koppenhafer. Koppenhafer is a second year intern to our program and is entering her senior year at Iowa State University. She is double majoring in Environmental Science and Community and Regional Planning. Growing up on a farm, she spent a lot of childhood days in the outdoors, and she is really thankful for having a summer job that also allows her to spend much of her working time outdoors!
On Tuesday May 24, 2016 we had the pleasure of traveling to the beautiful Swan Lake State Park in Carroll, Iowa for a very unique outdoor classroom experience. Anjanette Treadway is a program coordinator with Carroll County Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Carroll County. She attended the Water Rocks Teacher Summit this past December and quickly worked to integrate the new lessons into the classrooms of Adams Elementary 3rd graders. Anjanette loved the idea of the Water Rocks! program because it was fun and it adhered to core classroom standards.
“We are always looking to better align our programs with the core classroom standards and this program seemed to provide the perfect tools.”
– Anjanette Treadway
Anjanette spent the week leading up to the outdoor classroom viewing the Water Rocks! music videos and discussing the concepts of Wetlands and Watersheds and Biodiversity, oh my!
“They really loved the Old McDonald song but I had to keep reminding them to listen to the whole song and look at their song lyric packets before singing along.”
Water Rocks! often participates in outdoors classrooms that invite a variety of programs and topics to staff different stations through which students rotate. This outdoor classroom featured four of our own lessons! Students rotated between the Wonderful World of Wetlands, We All Live in a Watershed, Dig into Soil, and the Trees, Bees, and Biodiversity modules. Teachers also led various nature activities in between the lessons we taught.
Our lessons focused on the hands-on activities that go with each lesson. Wonderful World of Wetlands features hopscotch and bingo:
We All Live in a Watershed uses an activity that displays the relationship between what we do to the land and the pollutants that result from our actions:
Dig into Soil includes a few sorting activities and the amazing RAINFALL SIMULATOR:
And finally, Trees, Bees and Biodiversity leads kids through a few fun, suspenseful activities that involve cards and a variation on Jenga!
Anjanette believes strongly in what the Water Rocks! curriculum includes, and it shows. Her students clearly soaked up the main concepts she presented in the classroom the week before the outdoor classroom.
“The main idea I wanted to convey was that we just have to be so careful about what we put on the ground because it doesn’t just affect us. I think they got that. On the bus ride to the event they passed a sign for the Middle Raccoon River and the students called out ‘Oh! That’s the Adams Elementary watershed!’. They understood that that’s where the water from their school would go.”
A big thank you to Anjanette Treadway and Adams Elementary School for an excellent contribution to the Water Rocks! Program. We had a great time and hope you did too!