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Second Graders Host Innovation and Exploration Showcase on Compassion for the Earth

Earlier this week, second graders presented their innovation and exploration showcase, a culmination of their study on compassion for the Earth.

In 2019, rather than their annual musical presentation, Dr. Susan Hopper, Lower School’s Education and Innovation Consultant implemented the first-ever learning showcase that focused on “cross-pollinating” art, design, language arts, math, music, science, and social studies in one unit. Although COVID interrupted last year’s showcase, this year, students were excited to welcome friends and family to see what they have been learning.   

First, students learned about recycling. “Recycling is important because it helps the earth by keeping it clean so the animals can live a healthy life in their environment,” said one second grader. Upon returning from chapels, students found their neighborhood littered with trash. After learning about the three R’s - reduce, reuse, recycle - students worked in pairs to build sculptures from recycling that represented taking care of the earth. Next, students worked together to make a presentation to share their newfound knowledge with others, visiting other classrooms throughout the Lower School to deliver their findings.  

Second graders have been responsible for collecting recycling since ESD’s days on the Colgate Campus, but this project has grown significantly since then. In addition to learning about recycling, students met with ESD’s Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Eric Boberg, to learn about composting, what can/cannot be composted, and even the amounts of green vs. brown matter required for soils to be healthy. They even learned that these efforts are happening beyond the lower school - second graders met with AP Physics Teacher Matthew Varvir for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his class’s recyclable watercraft project. 

Students put their recycling skills to the test by making instruments, headbands and bows, and even their own paper from the recycled materials they collected. Even the posters they shared with lower school were made on their own recycled paper! 

Lastly, students created "fantastical animal" drawings, which are blends of different animals in both body and name. This study helped students consider the impact of trash, specifically plastic, on the habitats of animals. By reducing the amount of trash and recycling that can't be reused, we can help maintain healthy habitats for animals across the Earth.

“As you can see,” said one astute second grader, “recycling is really important for our environment and the future of the earth.”

Great work, Eagles! Thank you for sharing your learning with us - we can’t wait to see what you learn next.