The First Annual Climate Summit at Conservatory Lab
The 5th graders took on the roles of real-life scientists and activists working on issues related to climate change. They hailed from the Great Barrier Reef, Maldives, Gulf of Mexico, Kenya, Bangladesh, the Arctic, and the Midwest. They came as teams of ambassadors, with their unique perspectives and knowledge, to answer the question: How are our regions affected by global climate change?
How did they become expert ambassadors? Over the last two months of their expedition, Heating Up, Chilling Out, students researched their ambassador and his or her work and their region and its climate change issues. They conducted experiments to investigate science concepts related to the issues of climate change in their region. They created diagrams to help understand concepts, and graphs and maps to help analyze and interpret data. Teams inspired each other as they made creative skits and cartoons to teach the science concepts at work in their region. All the hard work paid off! The depth and complexity of their understanding stood out in the way they thoughtfully and passionately presented their findings and questioned one another.
We could feel that the answer to our Earth’s climate change problem is found in interconnection. We could feel the power of people connecting to understand each other’s unique yet interconnected experiences. As they reflected on the presentations, students imagined the Earth as “one”- an Earth whose regions and climate are intricately connected.
- Beatrice Jackson (Climate Scientist Thomas Knudson) reflected: “If we researched every single region then we would probably see interconnections between all of them, though maybe not the ones we’ve seen before.”
- Ben Lee (Marine Biogeographer John Guinotte) observed: “If you alter something it will affect everything else. Like in the Great Barrier Reef food web, if you remove the producers, the consumers would die off and there would be no life.”
- Alphonse DeVita (Lieutenant Commander Kathy Martin, NOAA Hurricane Hunter) reflected: “A table can’t stand if you cut a leg off.”
- Christopher Fulton-Harley (Dutch architect Koen Olthius), still in his role as the designer of floating buildings for the sinking Maldives, commented, “If you can’t beat the water, join the water.”
And so, the new year will find the 5th grade continuing our exploration of the questions: How can our world adapt to a changing climate? How can we work on climate change solutions?