September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Conservation and Primary Students

Friday, April 8th, 2016

by Joey Noelle Lehnhard

As an educator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I think about conservation a lot. The mission of the Aquarium is β€œto inspire conservation of the ocean,” and that straight-forward principle is at the center of everything we do. For teacher professional development, we host workshops that focus on current marine issues, such as ocean acidification, biodiversity, overfishing, oil spills, and ocean plastic pollution. However, my focus is on elementary education, and inspiring conservation in 2nd graders requires something very different.

Sometimes, as educators who care deeply about the environment, we think that our elementary students can handle these dense topics. We want our curriculum to be rigorous and so we boil down complex concepts into something that they can relate to and understand. Sometimes that works out, but, in the case of conservation education, it can backfire. (more…)

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