By Leslie Quan
On April 23rd and 24th the Falcons team at Sandy Run Middle School geared up to spend two days at Rob-bins Park. To start off the day, the sixth graders were greeted with a human bridge and delighted with cheers from all members of EEC (environmental education club). After the warm welcome, the 6th graders entered the pavilion to be informed of the rules and introduce themselves to their counselors and vice versa.
To release some of the kids’ energy, they went to the front field to do some recreational activities, like hula-hoop circle, tossing a ball to learn each other’s names, using a plank to walk, and getting a ball into a cup using PVC pipes. It may not seem as amusing as you think, but to the 6th graders had a great time and really enjoyed them-selves. Next was their first investigation at aquatics, where they searched under rocks for micro invertebrates. One counselor caught a salamander and a caddisfly, but the other OEC’s went further down the stream to catch crayfish. Once the first investigation was completed they moved on to adaptations, where they learned about adaptations that squirrels have. They also got their thumbs taped up because the kids were learning what it would be like if humans did not adapt. The “no thumbs” activities included tying a shoelace and buttoning a shirt, both of which were not easy for the 6th graders. Afterwards they went on a scavenger hunt to find plastic animals hidden throughout the forest. The third investigation was geocaching, where one counselor used a hand held GPS to lead their group of 6th graders to different objects that are used for survival. This particular investigation taught the students how to survive and how long they can survive without water, food, shelter and air. The last investigation of the day was sustainability, where the 6th graders were given a part of Bill Gates river to build anything they want on and at the end they had to connect their parts of the river and they learned how all the pollution that is produced from their area runs down the river and pollutes all the water that follows. The 6th graders got to play a game of jeopardy with their counselors and lat-er, they were inventors, building ma-chines that are good for the environment, by reusing recyclable materials.
At the end of the first day, the 6th graders came up with skits to per-form at the bonfire that night and all the EEC members were preparing for their skits as well. During the bonfire there were many laughs from the 6th graders mainly because of the EEC members performance. Some of the high schoolers skits included, a “cheesy” song, PENCILS!, in-visible bench, an enlarging ma-chine, a scary movie, M and M’s, and a repeating crime scene. One counselor got drenched in water and some female members of EEC had their mouths filled with Hershey’s syrup. Despite the cold weather, the 6th graders and EEC members had a great first day and all were ready to return the next day with more energy and fun to come.
By now, all the new members of EEC had gotten an understanding of how to control their 6th grade group and have created a close bond with their new friends.
The first investigation of that day was the three R’s, reduce, reuse and recycle. Here, the 6th graders learned what materials to recycle and which ones to throw out. They also were taught different ways to help the environment by using canteens instead of water bottles and to return the styrofoam to the post office to be re-used. To put their knowledge to the test, they did an activity where they had to decide which materials could be thrown out, reused or recycled. The second investigation was weather with Ms. Fantini, and she taught the 6th graders about weather tools like an anemometers, barometers and thermometers. She also reviewed the water cycle and the moon phases. Then, they learned about how to make clouds and different weather occurrences. After-wards, the 6th grade teachers brought the kids to Succession Fields to take pictures of horses and donkeys. Once they were complete with their activity, they returned to the pavilion for an award “ceremony,” where both counselors of each group assigned an award to every 6th graders and there were also awards for best group of each investigation. Not only were the kids awarded but also the 6th graders showered every counselor with compliments and positive feedback about the trip. The admirations from the kids were heart-warming and made EEC members feel good to be in a club that has so much impact on future generations and the earth.
Everyone should consider join-ing EEC, because it is very fun and you get to meet a ton of really nice people who care about the earth and are willingly to get their hands dirty to save the earth!