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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

    Caught in the ACT

    <bitat loss is the loss of a species' resources, caused by invasive species, climate change, pollution, land use change," says the teacher. But this isn't Global Change Biology, or Bio 126. This is Kids for Conservation (KFC), an ACT program created to give elementary school children the knowledge about environmental issues that they will need in order to make responsible decisions. Sophie Daudon '13, a KFC volunteer, talks about her experience with KFC:

    A: We have a bunch of volunteer Carleton students who create a lesson plan once a week and then go into Sibley elementary school in twos and threes to teach the lesson plan over the course of the week. The lessons are all focused on different environmental issues, and every term we focus on a different theme. The theme for this term is animals; last term was plants. Last year our themes were air, water, and earth. The theme this week is habitat and loss, which goes with the term’s theme of animals.

    Q: Give an example of a lesson you have given.
    A: A typical lesson would be one that starts out by introducing the theme. For example, last week we talked about animals, so we started by having the students go around and say their favorite type of animal. We always let them do some sort of drawing activity – last week they drew their favorite animal. And then, we try to take it further and go a little deeper, so we started talking about different groups of animals like mammals, amphibians and arthropods. We then played a matching game to see how those groups are different from one another. Each kid got a different animal trait and they had to place themselves in the right animal group.

    For example there were kids that had hair and they had to figure out that they were mammals. Finally, we always close with a wrap up discussion that talks about what weve learned and connects it to broader environmental issues and also to ways students can get involved. For example a couple terms ago we had a lesson on water and we asked students to brainstorm ways they can reduce water use in their lives. I actually ran into a student I had in a class who told me that as a result she was no longer using water to brush her teeth! Not quite the impact we intended, but even so!

    Q: How are your lessons received by the kids?
    A: Generally, kids have a lot of fun during our lessons because the lessons are very active. I think sometimes its hard to see if were having a direct impact because we only see them one hour every week, but the one encounter I described earlier is a good illustration of the impact. It’s always cool when you’re teaching and talking about something and a couple of kid will get really curious about it and ask lots of questions (some of which I can’t answer), but it’s exciting to see them getting involved like that and to know weve had an impact on how they think!

    For more information on KFC visit the ACT website!

    Hannah Comstock-Gay on behalf of the ACT office.

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