Video by Matt Haugen, WSU News
PULLMAN, Wash. What do second grade students, garbage, Washington State University students and aquifers have in common? They are all part of a “Palouse Pollinators” science initiative in the three elementary schools of the Pullman School District.
“Palouse Pollinators” is an education partnership centered on sustainability and environmental education. The emerging school garden focus is entitled: “Growing, Learning and Being in Community.”
In its second year, the program brings around 30 WSU undergraduate pre-service teachers to Sunnyside, Jefferson and Franklin elementary schools. The WSU students prepare lesson plans about sustainability and the environment and then teach those lessons to second grade classrooms.
Having that “real-world” interaction with young students is something that senior Rachel Denny knows is helpful.
“It’s not every day you talk about sustainability in most classes, so they’re learning what happens to our garbage, what happens to our water,” she said. “It’s not out of a book, it’s not just a worksheet; it’s like real-life hands-on applications.”
Getting into classrooms also is great for learning to change assignments based on the class and individual students, she said – something you can’t do when you just write up a lesson plan and turn it in.
Kimi Emerson, second grade teacher and WSU alumna, echoed Denny’s thoughts about the importance of on-the-job classroom learning for pre-service students.
“I hope they get being able to be organized, being able to pull things out of their pocket – you know, questions that come up when something goes wrong, how to remedy that very quickly – so just that hands-on experience,” she said.
Kathryn Baldwin, Clinical Assistant Professor, 335-1631, email@example.com
Matt Haugen, WSU News, 509-335-0487, firstname.lastname@example.org