Blog Category: Nature | Ecology Project International

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Blog Category: Nature

If you google “what is service learning,” you’ll find that a lot of the answers are complicated, but the truth is, it doesn’t need to be. So, let’s break it down. What is service learning? It's a type of learning that... Involves volunteering or tackling a problem or project The project should have a positive impact on a community or the environment It allows you to connect “classroom learning” to real-world situations The last bullet point is the crux. Academic preparation, assessment, and reflection are what differentiate service-learning projects from other, more traditional forms of community service. Why do a service-learning project? Often, serving learning hours are required for jobs, certificates, credit, graduation, or any number of things, but one of the main reasons to get involved is the opportunity to make a positive impact on... Read More

Conservation, Nature

For a long time, science (and math, and technology, and…) have been taught in a way that does not engage most students. A teacher presents an underlying scientific principle, often in a neat, abstract equation form, and then after students do some rote repetition of said formula, the teacher might present a few real-life examples in order to make it all seem “real.” However, those applications mentioned aren’t necessarily relevant to the students’ life, interests, or curiosities. They fail to engage. The Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS) encourage teachers to flip this old regime on its head. Instead of beginning with an abstract scientific concept, lecture, and/or memorization, the NGSS recognizes that you—like any presenter or actor—must first engage your audience. The NGSS humanize students, respect their curiosity, and urge teachers to first tap into students’ interest in... Read More

Conservation, Education, Nature, Professional Development, Science

Lightning cracks 360 degrees around us at the campground outside Gardiner, Montana. Inside the Ecology Project International van, EPI instructor Lila, Jess⁠⁠—a science teacher from the small town of Deer Lodge, Montana, six junior high school students, and I all huddle. Giant raindrops smack on the windows, then pebble-sized hail. In the white flashes, Electric Peak looms inside Yellowstone National Park. EPI’s safety policies dictate that we’ll be in the van until instructors can count to ten after a lightning flash before hearing thunder. We’re at less than a second right now, thunder shaking the van. It’s our third time waiting out a storm in the van this week, and we’re all a bit slaphappy. We tell jokes, riddles, storm stories, and already wax nostalgic for moments we shared just earlier today in the Park. I’ve joined... Read More

Conservation, Education, Nature, Science, Travel