Sixth grade students at The Learning Center Charter School adopted not one, but two endangered species as part of a broader Project Based Learning (PBL) project in science class.
PBL projects are part of the regular approach to learning at the charter school. PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to authentic, complex questions, problems or challenges.
In this instance, students tackled not only learning about specific animal species and all the science related to that task, but also the ecological, environmental, economic and social circumstances that are threatening the existence of the species. They gained insight and understanding of the fact that it is not as easy as it may seem to change the factors threatening animals.
These students learned about and found ways to help endangered species across the globe. They researched various animals, narrowed down their choices, and came up with ideas to raise money to help their selected species. The students finalized their plans and raised enough money to symbolically adopt both a polar bear and a Sumatran rhinoceros.
Jessie Karagenes, sixth grade science teacher at the school, said, “These students have diligently worked through the standards in this science unit.” Karagenes went on to explain that the connections these students made to one of several 21st century skills that the school stresses, thinking globally, made this project even more impactful for the class.