PS 98 The Douglaston School

Promoting environmental stewardship and civic responsibility, the DMEA develops partnerships with local public schools, bringing wetland/coastal science curriculum and hands-on learning opportunities into classrooms. In 2019, the DMEA was delighted to secure $5,000 of DEC-awarded grant money for the purchase of science equipment and materials for PS 98’s nascent wetland and coastal ecosystem science curriculum. Teachers and DMEA board members worked together over summer 2019 to develop k-5 grade appropriate lessons and experiments, as well as to purchase and deliver $5,000 of equipment for the 2019-2020 school year.

Principal Lena Kim shared some select grade highlights of the brand new science curriculum:

The Kindergarten received many books about the wetlands and animals in the wetlands. We have used these books to teach about the plants and animals that live there. The children used these books to create Thinking Maps, write about the animals they learned about, and create wetlands collages. We will also use them to make wetland diaoramas.

The first grade students have been busy exploring all the wetland texts that were provided to us. The students particularly enjoyed the text Habitat Survival: Wetlands by Buffy Silverman. Our students loved learning all about the different animals that reside in the wetlands. This has inspired our students to create their own non-fiction texts about an animal that lives in this habitat. In addition, the first grade students used the clay provided to create an animal model that lives in the wetlands. The students used different materials such as toothpicks, tissue paper, paper cup, counters, etc. to add to their clay model in order to mimic animal structures that will keep it “safe” in the wetlands.

The third grade has been busy studying the Matinecock people. They used the books purchased to further their understanding and were even given the opportunity to learn from the author herself, Donna Barron, who visited the students and shared the passage of legends from one generation to another. In addition, third grade students used the purchased digital microscope to observe small organisms such as worms and Wolly Bear caterpillars on their promethean board. Everyone was able to make observations together. Third grade students are excited to use their aquarium to explore horseshoe crabs in the spring!

The fifth graders used their air-monitors to determine the amount of air pollution in different areas aroudn the school. This began conversation about toxins in the air and the impact that air pollution has on the wetlands. Students grew their own terrariums that represented the wetlands. They used leaf blowers to blow “toxins” (baking flour) into the air around their terrariums and observed how these toxins end up in wetland areas, polluting and impacting the habitat in a negative way. In the spring, we re looking forward to researching ospreys with the purchased books and creating osprey nests.