Carmel Magazine

CM Nov 1, 2016 Barrymore HO16_DigitalEdition

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Projects that get children hands-on involved with science and math include planting gardens, painting murals, learning about watersheds, collecting rainwater, dressing up as plants (with root systems) and making public service announcements about water conservation. C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 6 179 something real to write about. They can weave math and science and art together. They really benefit from that integrated learning experience." MPUSD Visual and Performing Arts Coordinator Jaqui Hope, who for- merly served as director of arts and education with the Arts Council for Monterey County, also sees advantages stem from this multi-faceted, project- based approach. Children prac- tice cooperation, research and problem-solving skills through group garden-planning and maintenance exercises. Participation in related music and art activities helps students develop stronger presentation skills and build confidence. In addition to enjoying extra outdoor time as they explore science and math, youngsters also learn how they can make a positive difference in their community. "With the gardens they plant and the murals they paint, kids have the ability to change their surroundings. These students are embracing that opportunity," Hope says. "It's an amazing feeling, if you've just been sitting in a classroom and absorbing information, to suddenly understand that you can participate. You can leave your mark on a wall or in a garden that's going to be there for a long time. It's really empowering." This academic year, Eco Ambassadors builds upon last year's native plant garden proj- ects with lessons related to watersheds and water conser- vation. Students will collect rainwater in schoolyard bucket trees and use that to nurture the gardens established by previous program participants. They'll study waxy leaves, fuzzy stems and other natural features that help native plants conserve moisture. To better visualize the role that roots play in helping water move through the soil and on toward underground aquifers, students will dress up as plants with 25-foot-long roots trailing behind them. They'll complete As they learn about the connections between water and the wider natural landscape, students will be equipped to share those lessons beyond the classroom.

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