Field Trips for Awarenss and Advocacy

On Friday, we took our sixth grade class to "Wildlife at Risk" in the Cu Chi District of Ho Chi Minh City. The trip had made a number of objectives, but most notably were learning about the wildlife trade and developing awareness to the issue. Wildlife at Risk (WAR) takes in injured or rescued animals and offers a home to them. Sadly, many of these creatures are unable to be reintroduced back into the wild as they've become dependent on humans.

 Environmental stewardship is an expectation within science integration in all grade levels at our school and after unpacking our science curriculum over the last few years, I thought that our unit on biology would be a great inflection point for this environmental awareness. The overarching essential question for our unit was "Why do we value some forms of life over others?" All students confessed to stepping on insects intentionally in their past and it's funny how humans tend to empathize with life forms that have similar reproductive and child rearing habits as theirs. Much of our study in biology has revolved around ethics in science, with some in-class discussions debating the role of zoos as a preservation or entrapment tool and which forms of life are "worthy" of our advocacy.

The field study allowed students to donate their time, practice field skills such as observations and sketching,pilot the use of Ipads in the field, feed the animals, ask questions, and gain a better understanding of the wildlife trade. I am hoping that the visit will be a catalyst for some longer term interest such as "Siemens We Can Change the World" initiative, and I'm hoping to entice a few dedicated students into this in the near future.

 Although our academic curriculum is important, we must try to find opportunities for students to focus their interests for causes that they find worthy. A sage once said, "A good education is invaluable unless it it wasted".

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