2. Valuing Diversity and Biodiversity: Diversity means different- the more diversity in a community the more interesting it is. Biodiversity works the same way, and building a kelp forest helps us see the rich biodiversity that a kelp forest ecosystem can support.
3. We Want to Dive in and Swim Around: There’s nothing like diving into an environment to really understand it.
4. To Inspire: We have a huge window that begs to be used for something that inspires learning.
5. The Parts Make a Whole: Learning about the parts of kelp while building it helps cement those terms in our brains (holdfast, stipe, blade, float).
6. Modeling: Models are an important part of science, and a big part of the learning in Grade 4. This model is an as-much-as-possible life-size model. Scaled models come next.
7. Creative Problem Solving: Recycling used materials into a kelp forest is a unique challenge and necessitates creative problem solving.
8. Materials Science: Making choices about materials brings in teachable moments. Putting tempera paint on a plastic-y surface becomes a mini-lesson about the science of materials through an experience that makes that moment learnable.
9. Using the Terminology of Ecology: Building a community in a physical sense makes a direct connection to the term “keystone” which, in an arch, is the piece at the top that connects all the pieces to help the arch stay arched. In this built environment, the “keystone species” is an animal without which the environment would collapse- in the case of a kelp forest: the Sea Otter.
10. A Diverse/ Biodiverse Community is a Beautiful Thing: The diversity of our community makes our lives rich, as the biodiversity in a kelp forest makes that ecosystem beautiful.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! See you in 2012!