Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2011 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

BPESL: Pathways to Environmental Literacy
Mollett, Natalie
Co-Authors: Julie Baynard, Natalie Mollett, Tammy Newcomer

Abstract: In 2011, Maryland became the first state to mandate an environmental literacy requirement for all graduating students. The Baltimore artnership for Environmental Science Literacy (BPESL) continues to provide classroom support for teachers and schools striving to meet this mandate, through the development and implementation of Teaching Experiments (TE) in three different strand areas: Carbon, Water and Biodiversity. TEs are introduced to teachers during the BPESL summer program with the expectation that each teacher will implement at least one TE in their classroom during the school year.The carbon strand TE teaches components of the carbon cycle and its impact on people, plants and the atmosphere. Students use Vernier Lab Quests and probes to observe photosynthesis and respiration in plants and discuss the global impacts of climate change caused by an increase of CO2 in our atmosphere. The water strand teaches students to think about the pathways through which water travels and the driving forces and constraining factors that allow water to move throughout their schoolyard. Students get outside to observe infiltration, transpiration, evaporation and runoff to better understand how the water cycle functions in their local community. The biodiversity strand works to help students understand the vastness of the planet and includes implications of how we, as humans, affect the world. Students set out leaf packs in streams and later dissect them for macroinvertebrates. Student then group the macroinvertebrates by functional feeding group and can determine the quality of that stream based on what they find.