Outdoor Ed Re-Imagines Itself for a Virtual World, and Other Good News
Staff with the Outdoor Environmental Education Program has brainstormed how to recast Outdoor Ed in a virtual world. Since the pandemic has put the brakes on the typical three-day, two-night residential outdoor program for sixth graders, Outdoor Ed is bringing the lessons from the outdoors into classrooms via Zoom.
Every year at Outdoor Ed, students learn about the ecology of the local watershed and human impact on the environment as they participate in outdoor investigations that are directly connected to the Grade 6 curriculum and the Maryland State Department of Education’s environmental literacy standards. The program theme, “Our Watershed, Our World,” addresses the question: How do our actions and choices impact the health of our local watershed? This year’s big challenge was making that happen with students at home on virtual learning.
To move the lessons online, staff had to learn new applications, such as Canvas and Nearpod, and become expert Zoom users standing streamside in all kinds of weather. The first middle schools to go through the newly designed week were Farquhar and Julius West.
Outdoor Ed is presenting new opportunities for students to explore the natural world outside their door, says Laurie Jenkins, supervisor of Outdoor Ed. Lessons co-taught by each school’s staff and Outdoor Ed teachers provide opportunities for students to safely learn outside and/or gather data from home; engage them in observing, collecting and analyzing data from their environment; and lead them in developing an Environmental Student Service Learning project.
Teacher of the Year Picks Up Final Prize—A New Car
Months after winning the MCPS 2020–2021 Teacher of the Year title, Inge Chichester picked up her final prize—a new car, courtesy of Fitzgerald Auto Malls in Rockville. The car is being leased to her at no cost for one year by Fitzgerald. Chichester, a World Studies content specialist at Sligo Middle School, was named the 2020–2021 MCPS Teacher of the Year last May.
Blair Senior Named Top 40 Finalist in Regeneron Talent Search
Timothy Qian, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School, has been named a top 40 finalist in the 2021 Regeneron Science Talent Search, one of the most prestigious high school science and math competitions in the nation. He was one of two students in Maryland. Qian’s project is titled Optimal Measurement of Field Properties with Quantum Sensor Networks.
He was one of 300 Scholars named earlier this month. Qian won $25,000 for being named a finalist and advances to the final competition in March.
The full list of finalists is here.
MCPS In The News