Thursday, October 23, 2008

Science and the Environment

Science and the Environment
Tuesday October 21, 2008

Hello Everyone!

Today is a full day at the conference. This morning we attended the panel discussion called “Science and the Environment.”

The presenters talked about how we can use science to save our environment. Dr. Hamroush, Scientific Affairs Advisor at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, said that global warming is a problem for all countries in the world. He said that the only way we will find solutions to these problems is for countries to cooperate with each other. One of the things all the presenters talked about was the importance of planting more trees to help the soil and clean the air.

We learned about a program called “Roots and Shoots,” an international environmental education program for young people. They have programs teaching students in Mongolia to plant trees, and teaching students in Shanghai to plant organic gardens.

Here’s the link to the “Roots and Shoots” website - it’s in English and Chinese!

Check out the carbon footprint calculator on their site!

We spoke with Zee Zee Zhong, the Operations Director for the program. She was interested to learn from us about environmental education n in the Boston Public Schools. We told her about the “From Farm to Market” curriculum at the Young Achievers School, the Mission Hill School connection with the Farm School, and the environmental education courses at Odyssey High School, where Lucy teaches. We also told Ms. Zhong about Mayor Menino’s “Grow Boston Greener” project to plant 100,000 trees in Boston by 1020.

Here’s the link to the Grow Boston Greener site:

In fact, last weekend while we were traveling to China, there was a tree-planting event and a tree give-away in Roslindale on Saturday, October 18th. Did any teachers or students and families go to that event? If you did, let us know! Share your pictures with us!

Here’s a shout out to Mr. Dionne at the Hurley School, and the science teachers at the Orchard Gardens School, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Pringle: some of these sites will help connect your students’ science work learning to other students around the world.

We traded business cards and look forward to staying in touch with Ms. Zhong and learning more about “Roots and Shoots.”

Mini-Language lesson

In Chinese, a word is called a character.
Each line of the character is called a stroke.
Students here in China practice writing characters with a calligraphy brush and black ink.

Here is the Chinese word for tree:

木 mù tree

Doesn’t the Chinese character for tree look like a tree?

To learn to write this character:
1. click on the link
2. find the alphabet, and click on the letter M
3. from the list of words beginning with M, click on the blue character mù
Be careful - there’s two words “mu” - make sure you choose the right one!
4. In the top left hand corner you watch how to write the character stroke by stroke.
5. On a white piece of paper, use a black marker and practice writing it.

How many strokes are there in the character mù ?
Can you write the strokes in the same order that you see on the website?

Here’s a shout out to Ms. Mao: you are doing great work teaching Chinese language to students at the Ellis, Farragut and the Jackson Mann Schools in Boston! 很 好!
Mao 老 师, here's a great website for students to practice chinese characters and pin-yin.
Students can put in the pin-yin and find the character, and you can put in pin yin and get the tone marks! (They must know what word they are looking for)

We are using this website to put characters on our blog!
(Thanks to Brandon Syms, a brilliant graduate of Odyssey High School, now attending Boston University, for sharing the Chinese tools website!)

Literacy Connections for Elementary Teachers:
The author Huy Voun Lee has a whole series of book for young children with simple Chinese characters and great illustrations. Some of them are: At the Beach, In the Leaves, In the Snow, In the Park, and 1-2-3 Go!

You can blow up pictures of the characters from these books and place them on an easel. You can set up a table at the writing center with copies of the characters on the table, for kids to practice writing characters during center time. They can use markers, or brushes and black paint.

Find the books in the library and have students read them during reading center time.

Geography Questions and Activities for Students:

Places to find on your classroom map of the world:
· Cairo, Egypt
· Shanghai, China
· Mongolia
· Put a piece of yarn around each country.

· Write the character for tree (木 mù ) and place one on each city of the places that you have found on the map.
· Where is Mongolia in relation to China?

· What is a carbon footprint? According to the website, what can people do to make their carbon footprint smaller?
· Can you calculate your carbon footprint?
· What can you do to make your carbon footprint smaller?

Did you know that the National tree of China is the ginko?

What are the national trees of all the countries that you have marked on your world map so far?

Check out this website of the Tree Network to help you:
Click on the countries on the world map to learn more about trees of each country.
That's all for now.
再 见! zài jiàn!
Good bye! See you later!
Lucy and Alicia

No comments: