Stars and STEM Stories
Palomino Elementary School, Phoenix, AZ, United States
Students at Gold Dust and Palomino Elementary Schools in Phoenix are actively engaged in research - both locally and globally! By faithfully making GLOBE measurements, and using features of the GLOBE Web site like GLOBEMail, these students are studying local environmental conditions and reaching-out to GLOBE students in other countries to expand their knowledge.
Since April 1998, Gold Dust students have been taking height and circumference measurements of native California Red Bud and California Buckeye Trees, using clinometers and 50-meter measuring tapes. Now, the fourth, fifth, and sixth graders are conducting a research project measuring the pollution effects of the just-opened Squaw Peak Freeway (State Route 51) that runs nearby their school. The students have hypothesized that trees along the freeway will grow more slowly and develop less foliage due to the auto emissions. They hope to recruit other GLOBE schools in the area that are also close to the freeway to join their study. View a complete description of this two-year research project at: http://www.pvusd.k12.az.us/projects/reverse/project.htm.
Expanding their collaborations beyond Phoenix, Gold Dust and Palomino students in the third through sixth grades are learning about the climates, geography, history and cultures of other countries by exchanging GLOBEMail. GLOBE Teacher Sue Robinson, who teaches students at both schools, says that GLOBE has been a useful tool in studying not only science but social studies, reading and writing.
When their classes study foreign countries, for example, students select a GLOBE school from that country using the School Search features of the GLOBE web site and then compose a GLOBEMail to send. "I will do the typing if they are third-graders, but the students have to stand over my shoulder and edit," Ms. Robinson explain. "Students of all grades write carefully and edit very closely when they know their note is going to another country and will be read by another student."
Many of Palomino's students speak Spanish, and these research projects are excellent opportunities to practice reading and writing in that language. "Mi amiga y yo estamos haciendo un reporte sobre Chile y queremos hacerles unas cuantas preguntas sobre su pais," write Brenda and Lleni. Some of their questions include: "B?Como es el clima en Chile? B?En Chile hay volcanes? B?Cual es el rio mas grande de Chile? Muchas gracias."
The initial questions about the research project will often lead to curiosity about hobbies, sports, and other fun subjects, and the students sometimes keep up a lengthy exchange of GLOBE Mails.
"Hi. I like to ride BMX bikes, mountain bikes, roller blade, play football and skateboard. I like to read books," writes Westin. "I like to eat pizza, soup (any kind), and just about anything else you can think of except for pickled pig's feet. What books do you like? What kind of food do you like? Do you have any hobbies?"
24 March 2000