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Ecology in Urban Spaces: Contributions of Urban Green Spaces to Ecological and Community Health

Science Scope—July/August 2024 (Volume 47, Issue 4)

By Yelena Janumyan, Zachary Conley, Heidi Carlone, Hannah Ziegler, Tessaly Jen, Liwei Zhang, Jingyi Chen

Our program seeks to introduce middle school students to a range of STEM topics and careers. We planned and enacted a five-lesson unit themed around the contributions of trees/green spaces to ecological and community health. Humans thrive in ecologically healthy communities; however, not all communities have access to healthy ecosystems. Students were introduced to basic ecology tools and concepts, investigated urban parks to make ecological and sociological observations, and analyzed and interpreted the data for shared patterns of interest. The centerpieces of this unit were field work in parks where we followed a question-driven, observational study with scientific investigations into the effect of tree canopy on surface temperature, followed by independent student research to create final products allowing students to blend creativity, technology, and their newly-acquired ecological understanding towards making a lasting impact.

Earth & Space Science Environmental Science STEM Middle School

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