Young Minds Explore Relationship Between People, Environment

Do we affect our environment or does our environment affect us? 3rd and 4th graders in Windsor are answering that question by getting out of the classroom and into the soil, plants and air that sustain life.

“This is inquiry-based learning, where we ask a question to spark their curiosity and get students to think on their own,” said science teacher Deb Kalivoda.

Kalivoda has her students go outside to look, listen, touch and smell as ways to collect evidence. At the Palmer Colonial Garden students saw a birdhouse as an example of a way we affect the environment. They also saw a bee pollenating a flower as a way the environment affects us.

“They make seeds,” said 3rd grader Verity Sibley.

“No seeds, no food,” said 3rd grader Anakin Quinn.

They learned how pollination can create seeds while birds can spread them, both critical functions.

“It’s not a lot of paper/pencil. It’s a lot of hands-on and discovery,” said Kalivoda. “A kid who typically doesn’t like to do a lot of reading and writing really does well here.”

Kalivoda travels throughout the district to teach inquiry-based science lessons. For her “Power of a Flower” unit her 3rd and 4th graders have dissected a flower and saw eggs inside of the ovary. They have also made a 3-D flower and a pollinator out of a pipe cleaner.

Whether the lessons are in the classroom or outdoors, Kalivoda is having students collect evidence like scientists to support their conclusions.

“It’s going to be interesting because I don’t know where this is going to go. Each building collected different evidence,” said Kalivoda. “It’s going to be a guided discussion to start but as we go along the students will be able to make claims on their own and back them up.”

Teacher holds small object in her hand as two young students and another teacher look at it outside in a garden next to the school

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