This is a sponsored post written as part of a partnership between The Nature Conservancy and We Are Teachers
As a former teacher, I always loved seeing how real experiences contributed to my students’ learning. Hands on activities fostered learning through classroom lessons, field trips took us to local places that allowed us to dive into the curriculum into a deeper way, and virtual field trips extended our knowledge by taking us to places we didn’t have immediate access to via the computer. As a parent of two, I know my kids always learn more by doing so I make an effort to find real world connections that will cement classroom learning into their brains in a more concrete way.
One of the best ways to foster learning in kids is through virtual field trips. These free experiences take children beyond the walls of their school and outside their neighborhoods to get a new perspective on learning thanks to trusted organizations and educational partners who provide relevant experiences that are tied into curriculum standards.
Having just celebrated the United Nations’ World Water Day, I’m excited about The Nature Conservancy’s Wild Biomes: From America’s Rainforest to America’s Desert virtual field trip to teach now nature and water work with people. This free 40 minute virtual field trip for students in grades 3-8 will be held as a Google Hangout on April 8, 2015.
This free virtual field trip is part of The Nature Conservancy’s Nature Works Everywhere mission. It’s part of a series created by the organization and its 500 scientists to help kids learn the science behind how nature works. Videos with accompanying lesson plans are designed to build students’ knowledge of and emotional connection to environmental issues that are at the heart of the organization’s mission. As a former teacher, I love the lesson plans that accompany the videos. The parent in me loves being able to explore new places of interest around the globe from the comfort of our home and inspiring future conservationists to take care of our planet and our resources.
About Wild Biomes: From America’s Rainforest to America’s Desert
Through this virtual field trip, students in grades 3-8 will have an opportunity to compare and contrast the role of water and how it works in two dramatically different biomes. Students will be transported to the temperate rainforest Washington State and then to the Arizona desert for contrast. Along the way, they’ll learn how water affects and is affected by the people, animals and plants in these two distinctive ecosystems.
Description of Wild Biomes: From America’s Rainforest to America’s Desert
Two wildly different ecosystems, both dependent on the same precious resource: Water. On this virtual field trip, we’ll first travel to the lush, rain-soaked splendor of the Olympic Peninsula and explore the urban watershed of Seattle. The abundant rainfall here provides plenty of water, but keeping it clean and safe can be a challenge. Next, we’ll head to Arizona’s dry, desert landscape and take a tour down the Verde River, one source of water that nourishes this parched land. Here, people and other living things must adapt to a limited water supply, yet sudden and violent storms can dump seven inches of rain in a single night!
How to Participate in Wild Biomes: From America’s Rainforest to America’s Desert
Parents and teachers are welcome to participate in the free Wild Biomes: From America’s Rainforest to America’s Desert Google hangout at 12:00 pm (EST) on April 8, 2015. This 40 minute virtual field trip will help third through eighth graders better understand how geography, people, and water interact in two of America’s “wildly” unique biomes.
To participate, sign up to watch the virtual field trip live as a Google Hangout On Air on The Nature Conservancy’s Google + channel. It will also be live streamed on YouTube or available later on The Nature Works Everywhere YouTube channel.
Tyler DeWitt will serve as the emcee of the Google Hangout. High energy and comfortable in front of the camera, Tyler will introduce the field trip, interview the expert, manage transitions between video and live event, introduce schools, etc. You can learn more about Tyler by watching his TED talk on making science fun and visiting his YouTube Channel
Key concepts and terms needed by students to fully participate in the virtual field trip include:
- Biomes (temperate rainforest, desert)
- Water quality
- Water quantity
- Pacific Northwest
- Urban watershed
- Arizona desert
- Verde River
- How water affects people and how people affect water
- Where does your water come from?
The following resources serve as supplementary materials that can be helpful to teachers and parents working to build background knowledge about how nature and water work with people:
- How Natural Areas Filter Water
- Managing Salmon to Support Healthy Forests
- Gardens Activity Guide: Water
This is a sponsored post written for The Nature Conservancy and We Are Teachers but all opinions are my own. I’ve always been a big fan of The Nature Conservancy’s mission and resources! Images courtesy of The Nature Conservancy.