Earth Day Fair 2015

Planet Earth Collage – “I hope the earth doesn’t get destroyed”
Lake and Park School Earth Day Fair of 2015 was a day of active participation, peer teaching, and shared experience.  The morning began with a community meeting led by the school founder and director, Camille Hayward.  To create an Earth Day Song Book, the oldest students in the school had generated a long list of songs we all know which relate to many of our studies over the years.  Our singing that morning was enthusiastic and earnest. The week before, North Room students worked on a special edition of the school newspaper.  Each person had chosen a topic based on personal interest, class studies and relevance to a special “Earth Day” edition of the paper.

Morgan Padgett, the Primary Class teacher opened the gathering with a beautiful poem by JaneYolan, setting the tone for a wonderful day of exploration, learning, connection and celebration of planet earth.

Morgan reads Earth Day, by Jane Yolan

I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Each blade of grass,
Each honey tree,
Each bit of mud, 
And stick and stone
Is blood and muscle, 
Skin and bone.
And just as I 
Need every bit
Of me to make
My body fit,
So Earth needs
Grass and stone and tree
And things that grow here
Naturally.
That’s why we 
Celebrate this day.
That’s why across
The world we say:
As long as life,
As dear, as free,
I am the Earth
And the Earth is me.
Over a dozen different activities were planned for the fair and students moved throughout the school with a certificate to record participation at each activity.  The oldest students had planned together a variety of different events to teach and focus attention on this special day, with pairs of students organizing and supporting each area.  In this way, the fair reflected the scope of learning that began last fall with our all school study of weather, and continued throughout the winter with a focus on energy use, and learning about many of the earth’s systems.  The variety of activities also engaged many different modalities of learning; game playing, art, writing, experimentation, and construction. The focus was on re-using materials.
Roham works to create a game that teaches about garbage in preparation
of the Earth Day Fair.
Planting seeds.
Testing recyceled boat construction.
Sharing the special Earth Day edition of the Lake and Park Times.
Writing Earth Day Poetry.
Making Earth Day flags.
Map making at the easels.
Playing the recycle game,
Investigating oil and water.
Learning about bike to school month.
Ready to clean up the neighborhood.
Making bird feeders.
Water testing at the salmon tank.
Recycled paper collage.

Friday, May 1, marks the beginning of Bike Month.  Some students and teachers will ride bikes to school. Other students will ride to afterschool activities, or around the neighborhood. Not everyone has a bike-friendly commute to school, but we hope every family will talk about ways to conserve energy.  One ongoing focus of the Earth Day Fair is learning about the Carbon cycle and the role humans play in contributing to an imbalance in the cycle, which leads to a warming planet.  The fossil fuels we use to provide energy in the form of gasoline and electricity are releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the planet can absorb and recycle in a healthy way.

Working with our wonderful educational partners in the community; National GeographicEducation, Facing the Future, EarthEcho International, NOAA Climate Stewards, and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, students across the grades are learning and thinking about the ways the earth’s major systems work, and the ways people interact with these systems. Earth Day 2015 was a day to celebrate this learning.  We hope families will let us know when and how you take action at home to reduce energy use. Ask your child about it, they may have some ideas.   In all, the group effort of dedicated students and teachers made the Earth Day Fair a meaningful and engaging event for everyone. 
The whole school gathers at the end of the day to share poetry and song.