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“Hope is a Thing with Wings”: Building Capacity and Resiliency in Urban Students Through a Engaging in a Local Bird Phenomenon

Science and Children—March/April 2024 (Volume 61, Issue 2)

By Candace Penrod

In an age where catastrophic damage from climate-related events circulates through social and print media, it is important to build communities of hope for our elementary students (Hestness, et al., 2019, Sanchez, et al., 2021). Climate justice education is a vehicle for creating hope and building strong, resilient communities where students are empowered to act for themselves and their natural surroundings (Svarstad, 2021). Local phenomena can be leveraged to engage elementary students in civic responsibility and science and engineering practices, inspiring students to take action through proposing solutions to their community (Coleman, et al., 2019). We engage urban elementary students in a year-long place-based experiential learning centered on a student-driven local phenomenon. This project situates students as scientists collecting data and evidence to develop claims and argue from evidence regarding bird structures and their survival built and green environments. Students create authentic relationships with nature, rectifying the unjust relationships from past practices that contribute to environmental degradation of local communities (Gardiner, 2011). Climate justice is served as students use their voices for themselves, for the environment, and for the future of the planet they will inhabit.

Citizen Science Environmental Science Inclusion Teaching Strategies Elementary

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