Our latest collaborative project is well underway! The grade 1s are looking forward to participating in the World Wildlife Fund Polar Bear Walk, which they have planned in partnership with the Oak Lake Community School Kindergarten class and a group of Brandon University Faculty of Education students. We hope that we can raise awareness about the problems polar bears are having due to global warming and we’d like to make a small donation to support the World Wildlife Fund’s work with polar bears.
About the Polar Bear Walk – quoted from http://polarbearwalk.wwf.ca/
“Every year, polar bears in Hudson Bay walk up to 5,000 kilometres across the Arctic sea ice in the search for food and to raise their cubs. But the sea ice on which they depend is changing, and in some cases disappearing altogether. To help the polar bears that make their home on the ever shrinking expanse of sea ice, Sean Hutton founded the first Polar Bear Walk in 2013 when he was just seven years old! Join Sean in symbolically walking alongside the polar bear in our first-ever national Polar Bear Walk. Whether you walk 1km or 5km, you will double your impact for polar bears by raising awareness about rapid climate change and collecting toonies (which feature the iconic species) to combat the threats to their survival.”
About our Project-Based Learning
When we focus our classroom learning on a project such as this, it is called project-based learning. Students develop skills and knowledge that will help them meet their project goals. As an educator, I decide what curriculum connections can be made and which lessons to teach that will help students meet grade 1 goals while also working on their project. Project-based learning is typically very engaging and exciting for students, plus students learn to be active citizens because they are making a difference with their project.
The project is a great example of the interdisciplinary learning that is possible with project-based learning. As part of this project, we have been doing lots of research on polar bears. We are reading books, watching videos and writing about what we’ve learned. We hope to publish a class book about polar bears soon! Since we are working on this project with another class, we are “taking notes” together using a tool called OneNote. We’ve also had the chance to hear from some guest speakers via video call. Mr. Andy McKiel shared stories and photos from his trip to visit the polar bears in Churchill, MB. An interpreter from the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming taught us all about animal adaptations. Our science learning has focused on the needs and characteristics of living things, so that is also a great fit with this project. We are learning about what living things need to survive, how humans and other animals are the same and different and which life processes living things have in common. Polar bears have even become part of our art! We have created some cute polar bear crafts and we are learning to draw polar bears too. As we prepare for our walk, we are designing posters to carry with us with important messages to raise awareness.