AP Environmental Science Students Develop and Teach Experiential Lessons for the Lower School

Upper School juniors in AP environmental science put together lessons based on the Lower School's United Nations Sustainable Goal. 
The Upper School’s AP environmental science students recently became lesson planners and educators as part of a partnership with the Lower School and its curriculum aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 
The goals provide a framework for experiential and service learning in the Lower School. Each grade has its own goal, and programming, projects and other educational touchpoints are developed off that goal. 
Noticing significant overlap in the curriculum, the Lower School partnered with the Upper School science department to further this learning. Led by science department chair Edmund Herlihy, Upper School juniors in AP environmental science put together lessons based on their assigned grade level’s UN sustainable goal. 
“The Upper School students started by connecting with the grade-level teacher and class to better understand what they’ve accomplished within their U.N. goals,” Mr. Herlihy said. ”They also noted best practices during classroom observations and favorite lessons from ethnographic interviews.  
“They took these ideas and developed lesson plans, which they presented in the Lower School this week.”
The lessons and activities varied and students were seen all over campus taking part in activities. It included:
  • Grade 1 students took part in “farm-to-table” demonstrations and other games aligned with their U.N. goal of “Responsible Consumption and Production.”
  • Grade 2 students were taught “Climate Action” by learning about the carbon cycle and planting bonsai trees. 
  • Grade 3, with its theme of “Zero Hunger” took part in activities such as an urban farming competition challenge, and Playdoh food harvest donations.  
  • Grade 4 explored its theme of “Sustainable Cities” by learning about homes with sustainable design features, and planning a Lego city with greater access by mass transit. 
  • Grade 5 focused on “Clean Water and Sanitation” by building and testing water filters, and demonstrating urban runoff by modeling topographic changes and seeing runoff might impact watersheds. 

“Mr. Herlihy did a great job developing this learning opportunity, including having his students practice their communication, listening and presentation skills,” Lower School Principal Jennifer Blount said. “There are aspects from the lessons the Upper School students developed that will be utilized year after year here in the Lower School. I am so appreciative for all the hard work that made this possible.”
The cross-divisional connection between Upper School and Lower School students is common at St. Margaret’s, an opportunity at a PreK-12 school to bring students of different ages together for joyful learning, connection and fun. 
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