Cross-Curricular Learning

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Through a cross-curricular project spanning science, English language arts and library studies, James Wilson Young Middle School sixth-graders are exploring a variety of environmental issues.

During the three-week life science unit, the students are completing a human impact and living environment research project on an environmental inquiry of their choice. They are exploring topics such as oil spills, coral reef destruction, pollution, deforestation and endangered species using online resources and employing lessons learned in their classrooms.

Working within science and library class time, the students conducted independent research using online databases, peer reviewed articles and learned “netiquette.” They applied their English lessons to analyze and annotate their findings and shared their research within groups using Google Drive on iPads and laptops. At the end of the unit, the students will share their research with the entire class through effective and captivating presentations they created with the help of their teachers.

“I am really enjoying working together with my peers and using technology to further my research and complete the presentation,” said Shannon McMahon, who focused on the ozone layer depletion.

“I love the technology [of] Google Docs and Drive, which helps us work together on documents and remain connected on the group work while at home,” added Kenny Forman, who is studying water pollution.

The topic and concept was first introduced during their science class with teacher Rochelle Petre. The students worked through a class claims evidence reasoning task that focused on predator and prey ecosystems. They analyzed data, discussed the pros and cons for introducing wolves on an island overpopulated with deer, and created a group-thinking map.

The ELA lessons were delivered by Jennifer Pedersen and library concepts were instructed by Kelly Noeldechen.