The Edible Schoolyard
At Martin Luther King Junior Middle School in Berkeley, California, students spend their first period planting. This outdoor classroom is a learning lab for social studies, math, science, and life. At the Center for Ecoliteracy, they teach teachers how to make the garden the center of teaching. The children learn about different cycles: water, plants(photosynthesis), composition. Along with learning these cycles, the children are also learning how to cooperate, do projects together, and to build community. The founder for The Edible Schoolyard is Alice Waters who runs Sha Ponice restaurant in Berkeley. She came up with this idea in 1994 as a way to improve on school lunch programs.
A Night in the Global Village
Students from the Rocky Mountain School of Expeditionary Learning in Denver, Colorado, are for one night going to live as the many less fortunate people of the world. The Global Gateway program is a unique learning experience that really lets the students take a walk in someone else's shoes. This program provides the students with structures that represent living conditions in Guatemala, Thi Land, and Zambia. It also includes a generic urban from Appalachia, and a refuge camp. Each teacher and student is given a number and then placed in a family. Each family is given a bucket of resources which might include: flashlight, dishes, or raw food. No one will have everything they need for the night. They will have to trade and bargain with the other families for what they need. Also one member of each family has to become pregnant for the night, and another looses the use of one arm. The families have to learn how to cooperate with one another if they want to have food or a fire.
These podcasts could be of great help to teachers. Granted, not everyone has the opportunity to actualy go and live like the students in A Night in the Global Village or have a real garden like the students in The Edible Schoolyard. However, these videocasts alone could be enough to get your students thinking about how they can save electricity by turning off the lights when they leave a room, or saving water by turning off the faucet when your brushing your teeth. People do not realize the difficulties that other less fortunate people have to go through until they see it with their own eyes.
When your teaching about science, show the students a video/podcast about The Edible Schoolyard. Do they really know as much about cooking or gardening as these students in California do? Students can learn so much more from hands-on learning than if they just see something in a book. They will probably learn more from a videocast than from a book too.