The Sixth graders were super excited to get their iPads. The weather during the first week of school was exceptional. Exceptionally warm and muggy. A bit of heat, humidity, and sun, made the campus green and buggy, and the creek rain high with run off from the remnants of Hurricane Issac. Starting our environmental science unit seemed to be the perfect bridge with the students getting to use their iPads and getting outside and taking advantage of campus.
I have to admit, I am spoiled. Allendale Columbia has one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever been on. It’s a science teacher’s dream: A nature trail, a creek, a garden with veggies and berry bushes, flowers, birch trees – it’s a laboratory waiting to happen. My goal was to give the kids some key words : habitat, abiotic, biotic, ecoysytem, species, and let the students take photos of what these words meant to them. Nothing made me happier than to hear, “That is cool!”, “Check out this picture!”, “I can’t believe you just got stung – did you get a picture of the bee?”. Okay, maybe not that last one. Nonetheless, students were engaged in the activity – click, habitat, click, ANTS!, click, “Ms. D, is wood an abiotic factor if it’s dead?”. The students took on that energy of those buzzing bees. The pictures were amazing, and to be honest, much better quality that I ever would have expected. I’d rank this activity up there with one of the more successful second day activities I’ve had. I’m looking forward to finding out other ways of tying the iPad in with the environmental, keeping the balance of both in check.