With both high school students and the younger ones, we tried to pull our learners rather than push them. Learning activities were designed to enthral students, whatever the age, stirring their imaginations and making them excited about what they were doing.
Imagine a leader with five or six students entering a model of a leaf and working with mission control to call for the ingredients to create sugar. They would call for and receive three velcroed ping pong balls, a CO2 molecule, then a water molecule, H2O, then through trying to form a sugar molecule and discovering that they need one more ingredient to make it work, sunshine. When they receive the yellow sunshine ball they are then Able to put the sugar molecule together except for one oxygen atom, that they are told to throw out the oxygen ejection tube. They have completed the process of photosynthesis or energy flow. Then as part of their reflection, they are given a piece of an orange, a symbol for what they have produced. all in all, quite a magical learning experience.
Our main work was putting our high school student’s, then the elementary students through the renowned Earthkeepers program designed by the Institute for Earth Education. The activity described above is part of the “Earthkeepers program, one of four activities students go through while earning their “K” or knowledge key. Overall, we wanted to help everybody involved, become better citizens of planet Earth.