• The joy of nature

    Students enjoy playing on natural features in their playground.

  • What we grow by .

    I grew this! Students in school gardens grow their confidence, scientific knowledge and math skills. They feed their understanding of nutrition, too.

  • natural whistles by .

    Students practice their leaf calls by blowing air across a blade of grass held between their thumbs.

  • painting storm drains

    Students paint storm drains to remind people that pollution and trash can flow directly into the harbor.

  • STEM in Gardens by .

    Mapping a garden combines geography, botany, spelling, math and art.

  • Living classrooms2 by .

    Turning algae into I'll go, students learn how to derive energy from algae.

  • oyster spat

    Spat on the half shell. A baby oyster (spat) will be grown on an oyster shell in an oyster cage suspended in the Baltimore Harbor. Oysters filter sediment and pollutants from the water.

  • investigations by .

    Gardening gives students a chance to investigate the natural world with awe and intense interest.

  • outdoor classroom by .

    Scott Hartman takes students outside to learn about gardening, nutrition, biology, cooking and math. When he asked one class of students why the chickens were kept in a fenced in enclosure, a student anwered, "Because it did something really bad?"

Is Your Bus Fare Racist? Real Life Story Problems for Baltimore Students

posted in: Blog, Home, News and Issues | 0

Sometimes life gives us real story problems. When the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) started charging students for riding buses after 6 pm, students got a real life lesson in how political and economic decisions can affect their lives. Some had to quit participating in after school activities, others had to walk home or find a ride from friends or family. Non-profit groups which offered after school programs were suddenly having to seek funds to pay bus fare for their students.

This is a prime teaching moment where students can examine this problem using their skills in math, economics, history, politics, social science, and problem solving.

Teachers, here are some things that you can do with your students:
1) Define the scope of the problem.
How many students are affected by the reduced hours of free ridership?
What number/percent of students have had to quit programs?
What number/percent have had to pay and what number/percent have had to walk or get rides?
Have any students been placed in danger in by walking or riding with others?
How much money does MTA need to provide full time ridership for students?
What are the costs to students of missing after school programs?
What are the costs to families which have to pick up their students?

2)Why did the policy change?

3)What are the different perspectives on the cost of providing extended ridership?

Some city council members pointed out that there isn’t an additional cost in allowing students to ride
free on regular bus routes which are already running, especially after 6pm when ridership is lower than peak hours.

An MTA official stated that they are required to recover a third of the cost of rides and that in the past they were simply not counting additional rides by students. He stated that the MTA is facing a budget deficit and isn’t able to allow students to ride for free. Students are already billed at reduced fares.

A student pointed out that her participation in the Merit scholar program enabled her to capture college scholarships and admission offers. Should the cost of the bus ridership be weighed against the opportunities these programs offer to students and their families?

If the school district and the MTA are struggling with tough budgets, are there ways to find alternative funding or savings?

4)Can students provide examples of ways that buses and transportation have been important in racial justice history?

5)What are possible solutions to this problem?

6)Are there ways to express their views to public officials?
a) Call to MTA customer service number
b) Call or write Governor Hogan.
c) Call or write MTA
d) Send photos of their walk home to Governor Hogan and MTA.
e) Their families and friends could vote–research how many eligible voters cast votes in the last election.
f) Could a social funding drive provide funds?

I am posting a series of video clips for you and your students to use as you consider this topic.
Please let me know how this goes and whether you have any questions.
-shan

Blind Spots

posted in: 21st Century School Buildings | 0
glasses final fuzz flat_3583 by .
What Is Wrong With This Picture? Students are not tested for vision after 8th grade in Baltimore City Public Schools. When students are attempting to read and learn, wouldn’t it be great if they could see the blackboard? As part of a STEM exercise at a high school, we have offered eye chart screenings to students. In both years of this informal, voluntary screening, we have found students that clearly needed vision correction. Two students couldn’t read the top letter on the eye chart. How can we expect students to read and learn if they can’t see the letters?

Experiment US

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Cool Green Schools runs the Experiment You project to help students study and improve their health and learning. America has been running the Experiment US project since 1776, offering citizens the right to... READ MORE

Learning to Live In Baltimore

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  How schools can improve the health of students and their communities The 2017 Neighborhood Health Report by the Baltimore City Health Department is hard to read.             ... READ MORE