Middle school students explore legacies through storytelling

Middle school English and Drama classes have been collaborating on a storytelling unit, based around the StoryCorps project they’ve been studying. The StoryCorps mission is to provide all people with “the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives.”

In that spirit, the first phase of the projects saw students sharing characteristics which they have inherited from their families and written down. The traits were then sent aloft in balloons to then be received, cared for, and performed by other members of the class. The class environment was one where students felt comfortable, willing, and excited to share their own stories with each other. The project culminated in a creative and collaborative way, with groups developing moving tableaux that represented the legacy characteristics.


Environmental Panel Kicks off MB Expo Service

By Izzy R. and Julia P., upper school studentsAssembly

Environmental Science students in the Upper School have been inspired to share their knowledge and concern about Providence’s environment. With the help of environmental professionals, students informed the Moses Brown community about the necessity of watershed protection.  The class held a panel discussion on October 6 in Alumni Hall, which gave members in our community an opportunity to ask questions and learn how they can positively contribute.

Over 200 members of the MB upper school community will participate in cleaning up the Providence watershed during MB Expo, Oct. 16-17. We will clean storm drains and mark them to show the area that affects the watershed. The watershed is often disturbed when storm water due to rain and snow melt causes the sewage systems to reach capacity of water intake. The excess water, or runoff, travels downhill into York and Hockey Pond, as well as the Seekonk River. The problem with this, however, is that the runoff carries nitrates and phosphates that comes from fertilizer, soil, and streets. The abundance of nitrates and phosphates causes nutrification in the water sources, leading to increased algal growth. When the algae dies, bacteria decreases oxygen levels as it eats the algae. Oxygen depletion reduces biological life in the ponds. To advocate our cause, students will distribute posters to businesses, introducing the park and its benefits. Along with these posters, we will hand out informational flyers to residents, in order to teach about issues caused by runoff and how they can be reduced.

See related: AP environmental science students go beyond the classroom.

Learning by doing… 3rd grade visits the Woonasquatucket River

By Laura Hunt and Beth Runci, third grade teachers (originally shared on their kidblog.org page)

We had a wonderful day of learning with Save the Bay teachers! They met our class at Riverside Park in Olneyville, near the Woonasquatucket River Greenway. After helping the children locate our place on a map and explaining Save the Bay’s mission, the teachers split the students into four groups. Each group spent about 40 minutes at four different stations.

On the History of the River walk, students learned about ways in which native people once used resources available near the river and how the industrial revolution brought with it some harmful changes. This station helped students build connections to the book, A River Ran Wild, by Lynne Cherry, which we are reading in Social Studies.

3rdGrade1At the hands-on watershed model, we enjoyed creating a little community with buildings and vehicles. Then, the children simulated adding fertilizers and other chemicals to this environment to discover what happens to pollutants in a watershed when it rains.

3rdGrade2At another station, the children used a large hands-on model of a flounder to learn about its anatomy. They enjoyed burning off some energy by playing a running game to simulate the challenging journey a fish needs to make to its spawning territory, and the relationship between predators and prey.

3rdGrade3For many students, seining for macroinvertebrates in the river was a highlight of this trip. At this station, we caught lots of critters, and discovered what kinds of creatures indicate a healthy habitat. Save the Bay has added a cool, new viewing apparatus to this station, allowing the children to get a close-up look at the water rushing by and the creatures they found.

3rdGrade4This field trip is an important foundational experience for much of the learning we will do in Social Studies this year. Working in small groups helps students begin building cooperative problem-solving skills. Thinking about the Native people who once inhabited our local region sets the stage for our study of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags. We will re-visit big ideas about conservation during our National Parks unit. Many students are better able to think about conservation efforts in other regions of our country by drawing upon the experience they had in September learning with Save the Bay. How fortunate we feel to be able to offer such rich experiential learning to our students.

3rdGrade5Many thanks to our parent chaperones, Charlotte, Hiroko, Jen, Kerri, Lauren, Kevin, and Vanessa, and our Science teacher, Anna. Their help, patience, and good sense of humor throughout the day was much appreciated!