Olander Students Study Rainforest
Olander Students Save Six Acres of Rainforest
A classroom-sized rainforest educated others about environmental issues while raising enough money to save six acres of rainforest. Olander Elementary School third grade students recently researched, designed and created the classroom-sized rainforest museum which was open for three days in November.
Working together on large-scale projects like the rainforest museum, students go beyond learning academic skills. They learn important leadership and teamwork skills that they will need for success in the 21st Century.
“In order to meet the challenges for the 21st century so that our children remain competitive in a global economy, students need more than academic skills. They will need to be good citizens, have career goals, and possess leadership qualities and teamwork skills,” said Jerry Wilson, Ph.D., Superintendent.
To develop 21st Century skills, students, teachers and parents work together on large-scale activities are known as Project Based Learning. At Olander, every grade level will do at least one project-based unit this year.
“Project based learning allows students to express their creativity, develop their entrepreneurial abilities, and to think critically about real world topics,” Wilson explained.
Working in teams, the 3rd graders designed, created, and advertised their museum. They researched and wrote display placards, gave tours, and educated others about the rainforest created in a classroom at the school.
“Building and creating a museum involves jobs,” explained Lori Haskett, Olander 3rd-grade teacher. “We used the Denver Museum website as a guide to developing job descriptions and applications.”
After filling out job applications, students were chosen to work in teams on the various aspects of the project. A deadline for opening was set and the students collected supplies and spent three evenings building the museum. Once open, about 600 students, parents, neighbors and friends toured the final exhibit in November.
“I especially liked this project because it reflects the working world,” explained Brian Oliver, Principal. “Not only did the students learn content standards, they learned 21st Century skills.”