The Green Team Teaches Chamberlin Students

Posted by Corey Burdick on 3/3/2020 12:30:00 PM

A collaboration has been launched during February and March of this year between SBHS's Green Team and Chamberlin School. Four members of the SBHS GreenTeam have been teaching 3rd and 4th graders lessons they learned via their training in the TRY 4-H2O program.  TRY stands for Teens Reaching Youth and is a teen-led environmental education program designed to teach environmental literacy and responsibility to younger youth. This program is a partnership between UVM Extension 4-H Teen & Leadership Program and the UVM Watershed Alliance.

High School science teacher and Green Team advisor Matt Dransfied said, "This project is pretty cool in that it educates the high school kids but then has them pay-it-forward, so to speak, by teaching the younger kids. The teaching is challenging but reinforces the learning so much. I also find that young students are very receptive to this when it comes from high school students."

The Green Team is the SBHS environmental club and it is open to any South Burlington High School student. After two years co-advising the club, Dransfield explained that he felt the model of the club needed to have an environmental advocacy project as a component as well as a competition (the annual Envirothon). Thus far, the education/advocacy projects have been wide ranging and 100 percent student generated. Prior projects have included a whole school energy audit and efficiency challenge, partnering with the South Burlington Energy Committee, auditing the forest and campus by the schools for invasive species, speaking at a Youth Climate Rally at the State House, and promoting composting.

"This year, I presented different options (to the students) that had come across my desk, but one of our 10th grade members, Sylvia Burkman, really advocated for the TRY program," Dransfield said. "Her enthusiasm bred more enthusiasm and before we knew it we had a group and were headed to the training day. We then emailed all 3rd and 4th grade teachers in the district. We had an overwhelming interest from these classes. Ms. Cota and Ms. Simpson were the first to get back to us, so we prioritized their classes."

The TRY 4-H2O program is designed for students in grades 3-4 and examines the water cycle, watersheds, water quality and health, aquatic life and water stewardship. There are 6 lessons, each approximately 1 hour. All lessons are hands-on, engaging and fun! The six lessons are also aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards as well as support the Common Core Standards.

Dransfield added, "I think there could be more teaching groups next year if students wanted to do TRY again. This would allow us to reach more 3rd and 4th graders."


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