The Oxford Institute of Environmental Education is living up to its reputation for teaching an investigations approach to science. It is located on a property within the town of Oxford and owned by Oxford College the original site of Emory University of Atlanta. There are 17 teachers from grades k-8. We are from both public and private schools, and the states of Georgia and Florida. We started the week exploring the a small section of the vegetation with powerful magnifying glasses which lead to generating questions, crafting hypotheses and making predictions. We waded chest deep into the pond with seines and nets collecting samples of organisms, applying a taxonomic key to determine their names while using high powered microscopes.
The 17 of use have followed the example of our leadership by working together in mutualistic relationships. We have three dedicated leader-Biologists and a teacher/curriculum expert available to inspire us and help us create schoolyard investigations to implement come the new school year in August. We also have a wonderful college student-biologist who enthusiastically facilitates our explorations and helps us find answers to probing questions. Amid the traipsing around in squeeky-wet sneakers and hiking through woods covered in thick vegetation there is plenty of humor and swapping of stories.
A bunch of us were lunching in the courtyard yesterday and learned about the infamous zebra story. I will have to find the link to the article. Apparently some students secretly lead a local zebra from a farm to the second story of a campus building. The building faces the quad and the second floor has tall wide windows acting like a large pet shop window! A fifty year history of placing a cow in this position ended 50 years ago and this little stunt was designed to make up for lost time. The damage was several thousand dollars and thanks to an anonymous donation and an entrepreneurial student who created zebra t-shirts to raise money, the damages were covered for the most part. The pranksters still remain anonymous.