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Environment Experience Helps BMS Students Tune into Nature


This wasn't just another "walk in the park."  This was an opportunity for students to connect with their environment.

Brady Middle School sixth graders recently toured the Cuyahoga Valley National Park as part of the annual Environmental Experience. This supplement to the sixth grade science curriculum enables students to experience nature in a hands-on, engaging way through the use of the unique resources of the National Park.  Students were led by Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center (CVEEC) Staff who encouraged them to think outside the box while setting up challenges so the students could discover for themselves how nature evolves. 

“Many kids don’t get outside anymore, and I think it’s really important to connect kids with nature to understand the world that they live in, to be able to take care of nature, and to be able to connect with it,” said guide and CVEEC intern Carrie Cooper.  

Sixth grader Joey Earley could definitely relate to that concept.

“It’s fun!  I like being out in nature,” Earley said. “I don’t usually go out in parks like this so it’s taught me to appreciate the little things.”

Student teams were divided into groups categorized by the Great Lakes and Niagara Falls.  Half of the sixth graders participated one week in October; the others followed the next week. Experiences included a "watershed walk" where students had to interpret geological and cultural changes and a "journey to the river" where the sixth graders participated in scientific water quality testing, observed ecosystem changes and examined causes of pollution.  Other activities included observation and exploration of rock formations and waterfalls as part of a discussion about the physics behind erosion. 

And the science has been custom tailored for the BMS students. In collaboration with the CVEEC staff, the sixth grade science teachers have created a curriculum unique to our District to enable the students to take advantage of specific locations in the Park that most closely support and illustrate the various state standards. 

“I think it’s an important experience to get out of the classroom and really see science in action but also learn a lot about Ohio’s history and various landforms,” said sixth grade teacher Christina Hodge.  “If the students leave this week with an appreciation for Ohio history and the development of land over time in Ohio, then this was a success.”

For sixth grader Tanner Slesh the experience was successful.

"It has been really fun exploring the outdoors where everything is just natural and just feels right,” Slesh said.  I have learned what kinds of things happen outside without being touched by human hands and how life just works.  It is important for the future to understand how and why things happen.  Plus, it's outdoors and it's fun."   

For additional photos, please go to our Orange Schools Facebook page to view the Outdoor Environmental Experience album:

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