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When it comes to learning how to navigate the big world beyond Middle School, there's nothing like real-life practice. Eighth Grade Environmental Science students recently gained some of that practice by participating in the Youth Water Summit in Carbondale. With teachers Audrey Sherry Gunshor and Megan Talarico, they headed to the summit, where they only shared their research projects but were even interviewed by a reporter from Aspen Public Radio (below). Learning experiences like this help ACDS graduates become not only strong public speakers but also good stewards of the environment.
After several in-class visits by water specialists such as Bill Blakeslee, a state water commissioner; Craig Corona, a water lawyer; and Sarah Johnson, a water education consultant, students brainstormed a variety of questions regarding water. They then chose their topics and conducted research to develop a presentation for the Youth Water Summit tomorrow. This is an annual gathering of students from schools all over the valley; read more here.
The ACDS projects were entirely student directed and utilized design thinking and the question formulation technique to guide their efforts. This approach to learning is commonplace at ACDS, but somewhat rare in many schools. Rather than teachers directing all the work, students themselves take responsibility, an important academic skill.
The Youth Water Summit is a great example of the higher-level experience our Middle School students can tackle following their many years of project-based learning. In addition to participating in discussion groups, they presented these fivedifferent research projects related to Colorado water:
- Colorado River: Past, Present, and Future
- Buying and Selling Water Rights
- Water-mentry - Water Shortages: Culture, Economy, Agriculture, and Ecology
- Colorado River and Climate Change
- Water Conservation: how can we make a difference?