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Category Archives:

Education

NYC DoE Holds First Climate Summit

Teachers, Instructional Coaches, and Educators from across the DOE participated in the first NYC DOE Climate Summit at the NY Hall of Science in Queens, NY. The Summit was organized by the Office of Sustainability, Solar One, and the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership in an effort to profile the diversity of climate change and how it relates to a variety of school activities and curriculum.

Activities in the two Round Robin sessions included mapping visualizations, climate themed simulations and games, school climate risk assessments, data analysis, health impacts, and climate advocacy.

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Why Is Water Slippery?

Kids ask some pretty hard questions, and sometimes the answers are extremely fascinating, which is why the FiveThirtyEight blog, best known for political polling and sports prognostication, has started this gem of a series called Science Questions from a Toddler. Since the Solar One community is full of both teachers and parents (and teachers who are parents!), we thought this might be of interest for all sorts of reasons.

This week’s topic: Why is water so slippery?

The answer has to do a lot with just how peculiar water molecules actually are.

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It’s National Teacher Appreciation Day!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day! We are so inspired by the courageous work of educators in and out of the classroom. Your commitment and dedication continues to cultivate the minds of so many students, encouraging them to reach their full potential. We are so grateful for your passion and enthusiasm for STEM education; we thank you today and every day!
As a token of our appreciation, below are three sample activities from the Green Design Lab Curriculum!

And even if you’re not a professional educator, you might enjoy doing these activities with your own kids- they’re educational AND fun!

  • Elementary Air Quality Index – In this activity, students are introduced to the concept of Air Quality through a role playing game.
  • Middle School Classroom Energy Audit – In this activity, students will use watt meters to determine the amount of energy different classroom appliances use.
  • High School Down the Drain Game – In this activity, students explore what happens to water when it goes down the drain. They will investigate what a CSO (combined sewer overflow) is as well as methods for storm water management.
Let us know how you are celebrating with the hashtag #GreenDesignLab on Twitter and Facebook. Learn more about bringing the Green Design Lab to your school here!

 

The Green Bronx Machine & The Power of a Plant

The Power of a Plant tells the engaging story of Bronx educator Stephen Ritz and his journey to embody his three Cs- “collisions, connections and co-learnings” through creating the Green Bronx Machine at the National Health, Wellness and Learning Center at CS55 in the South Bronx. Students learn a a variety of curriculum-tied skills while also learning about health, nutrition and the environment.

As he evolves from “Mista”  in the 1980s to “Mr. Farmer Steve” in the 21st century, Ritz was inspired by his students’ brightness, creativity and hunger for positive reinforcement; working with special education students in the city’s poorest congressional district meant that positive reinforcement was the last thing his kid were getting. By encouraging each student to “make your thinking visible” helped students to gain the confidence to take on ever-more complex problems. Soon students who had been basically written off as hopeless were taking on beautifying projects in the South Bronx and making the evening news.

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Books for Kids that Teach About the Environment

“Reading is fundamental” is a phrase most people are familiar with, and instilling a love of books and reading in their children is some thing that many, if not most, parents strive for. Some books carry messages even more profound, though. Stories are such a compelling way of passing on information that human cultures have stories that have survived thousands of years.

When it comes to environmentalism, stories can play an important role in teaching kids to take care of the animals, plants and other features of a healthy natural environment.

Here are five suggestions from Earth911.com that are sure to please budding environmentalists and eco-parents:

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Teaching Teachers to Teach Climate Science

This letter, by Solar One BFF Joy Garland, appeared in the December 28, 2017 Letters to the Editor in Town & Village newspaper.

Have you ever wondered how schools are preparing our students from kindergarten through high school to understand climate, how it affects us and what we can do about it? One solution that has been suggested is to reach out to the teacher training colleges who prepare the adult students to be teachers before they enter the children’s classrooms. Here in New York City, Teachers College, Columbia University and New York University are both participating with the New York CityDepartment Of Education (DOE) Office of Sustainability, to increase environmental and sustainability education for teachers and students. There is also an initiative from NYC DOE to strengthen the sustainability coordinator position in each public school.

We were delighted that State Senator Brian Kavanaugh was able to speak at the recent meeting of the Environmental Education Advisory Council (EEAC) dealing with the aforementioned issues. The senator spoke about initiatives on the environment that he sponsored when he served in the State Assembly before he won a spot in the State Senate recently. He also offered suggestions for helping to improve environmental and sustainability education in the schools.

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