Participating in #KindergartenBioBlitz

By: @RangerRidley

#KindergartenBioBlitz began during National Environment Week in June 2013 as a way for the Peel District School Board's Outdoor Education Centres to support environmental inquiry and exploration beyond the field trip for younger students. Students investigate local green spaces for invertebrates and other wildlife and share their discoveries online via Twitter. It has expanded into other districts and countries. It also has become seasonal with a version for Spring, Autumn and Winter as a wonderful tool for students to collaborate and question what is in their own backyard.

A "BYOD Safari"

Students, with teacher assistance are encouraged to explore and document the invertebrate world around them. By developing questions to ask "experts" and other classes, students gain an appreciation for and an understanding of the world around them by combining 21st Century learning techniques, social media and environmental inquiry.

Day 1: Predictions - Begin by sharing the week long project with students and ask them what they think they will discover in their search. No doubt with early year learners dinosaurs, bears and lions will come up. After exploration, share results using the hashtag #kindergartenbioblitz and ask students if they were to go out again, how their predictions may change and why.

Day 2: "I notice..." Statements" Once more, ask the students what they may expect to find when heading outdoors. Share finds using the hashtag and ask students to phrase their discoveries with the statement above to not only ask what it might be - but to share the fact that they are #lookingclosely as well. When back in the classroom, share "I notice..." statements focussing on comparisons, habitats and more.

Day 3: "I wonder..." Statements

By now students are expanding their comfort levels and inquisitiveness as they share and respond to other classes and experts. While every day of the #kindergartenbioblitz week should have an "I wonder..." component - the 3rd day is a day to highlight and focus on creating "I wonder..." statements. Learning to formulate and respond to questions.

By having a different focus each day teachers and students alike are granted permission to explore through various lens.

Students are encouraged to look up, under, on and in!

Day 4: "This reminds me of ..." Statements

On the 4th day, students in their search are encouraged to find personal connections around their discoveries. For instance, perhaps this ladybug larvae reminds them of their own childhood, or a story they once read. Perhaps it even reminds them of something they saw on television.

By finding "This reminds me of ..." statements, we are encouraging an even more profound connection to the invertebrates and other critters that students share the schoolyard with.

Day 5: Retelling the Journey

In the 5th and final day, students are encouraged to retell the story of their journey during the week they participated in #kindergartenbioblitz. What did they learn? Who did they hear from? Did perceptions change? Students can share online with Padlet, Haiku Deck or perhaps an graphic organizer. They can create their own paper story books.

All images in this story are from past versions of #kindergartenbioblitz Each #kindergartenbioblitz is storified and shared via the #EnviroEd chat Storify account. For more information on #kindergartenbioblitz, contact Rob Ridley, Field Centres Coordinator, Peel District School Board t: @RangerRidley

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