Do you remember playing outside as a kid, catching and observing insects and other animals? My students live in urban projects and have never had the opportunity to observe and explore the natural world as every child should.
My students have not had much success with school.
They are in my class as a result of being expelled from other district schools, and for many, my school is the last stop before incarceration. As 7th grade students, some repeating the grade for a 3rd or 4th time are often disengaged and defiant. Their attitude is not surprising, seeing as how science class for them has mostly been worksheets and lectures. Many of my students already have criminal records and/or parole officers, and see school as simply another setting in which to socialize and interact with friends. My students do not realize that school can be an opportunity to expand their world, or know about the opportunities that exist outside of their upbringing.
In 7th grade, my students are supposed to learn life science--a difficult task in the confines of a sterile classroom. I hope to make science come alive (literally) for my students. I want to introduce them to the wonder and awe of the world outside of their neighborhood. Since I cannot take my students to the streams of Asia, or the rainforests of South America, or the shores of Maine, I plan to bring those habitats to my classroom.
Maintaining, observing, and engaging with animals such as geckos, chameleons, hermit crabs and zebra fish will help my students understand the life science concepts of classification, energy cycling, ecosystems and reproduction. Additionally, these resources will open my students' eyes to the world beyond their urban doorsteps. My students will be able to see science as a pathway to various careers and opportunities, including veterinary, ecological, and research-based fields.
If I cannot engage and inspire my students, it is likely they will partake in the school-to-prison pipeline.
If I cannot introduce my students to the world outside of Bridgeport, it is likely they will live their lives ignorant of their opportunities and potential. Please help me show my students the wonders of the living and natural world so that they can show the world how high they can climb.
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