Spaceship Earth: day 1

Peace Village Newberg logoThis past week I taught a class for grade school kids at Peace Village Newberg on the topic of “Spaceship Earth.” Peace Village is an “international nonprofit that teaches the power of peace to children, families, and communities.” We have had a Peace Village day camp at North Valley Friends Church in Newberg, OR for the past 4 years, I believe, and we partner with a Ba’hai congregation, the City of Newberg, and a local Rotary Club. Peace Village intentionally focuses on the themes of mindfulness, connection to nature, media literacy, and conflict resolution. I had the idea to do a class on Quaker economist Kenneth Boulding’s idea of “Spaceship Earth,” and this topic fit well with the Peace Village values. I thought I’d share the curriculum I developed this week, in case anyone wants to use or adapt it. You could use this for any day camp; it wouldn’t have to be for Peace Village.

PV16 day 1 - 1One other thing that made this class relevant was that volunteers from the class signed up to help with sorting compost, recycling, and trash at snack and lunch each day. We got the kitchen staff and the middle school group more on board throughout the week and saw quite a bit of improvement.

A couple weeks before camp started, I went to my local library and picked out some children’s books on the topics we were going to talk about. I asked my friendly librarian to help out, and she found me a bunch of books. I also searched for the terms I’d be talking about and ordered some from other area libraries. I’ve included a bibliography at the end of this post. These are good to have in the classroom for students to read if you end up with extra time at the end of the lesson.

Details:

  • Five 50-minute sessions
  • Split into two classes: 2nd-3rd graders and 4th-6th graders
  • Each class had about a dozen students and three high school-aged counselors

Overview:

Materials Day 1:

  • Field journals: I used small, lined spiral notebooks, about 2″ x 3″, that came in packs of 3
  • Pencils
  • Coloring sheets: Solar System, Simple Spaceship Earth, Earth Doodle
  • Magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue or glue sticks
  • Compost bin
  • Recycle bin
  • Device to play YouTube video on (with Internet access or download the video beforehand)

PV16 day 1 - 2The first day we really only had about 40 minutes, due to everyone getting used to the schedule, and all the details that have to happen on the first day of camp. I introduced the concept of “Spaceship Earth,” then we played a name game to get to know one another a bit. Each student received a field journal, and they wrote a few things they’d want to bring if they were going on a spaceship, and then a few things we would need to make sure were available if we knew we were going to be on a spaceship for the foreseeable future. The older kids, especially, did a good job of figuring out what things we would need if we were on a spaceship, and eventually realized that we’d need them to cycle through the system rather than just throwing away garbage out the hatch or bringing extra air tanks, so this was a good start to helping them think about how we care for the planet that is our spaceship.

We watched the first part of the YouTube video: “Stunning Views – From Earth to Universe and Back Again,” discussed it, and then read You’re Aboard Spaceship Earth. I explained about the compost and recycling helpers, and students signed up to help out. With any extra time, I had magazines available, books to read, and coloring sheets, so they could decorate the cover of their field journals, read, or color.

This day went well for the 4th-6th grade group. I had a challenge with the younger kids because about 2/3 of the class decided they had to use the restroom in the middle—which was probably true. They hadn’t had time to go during the snack break right before my class. Therefore, everything got a bit disorganized, but it worked out OK. The older kids really liked the book You’re Aboard Spaceship Earth, which I was kind of surprised about, since it goes into quite a bit of detail. I glossed over some of the details and summarized for the younger kids, which worked pretty well, but it was kind of long for their attention span.

We did have a few minutes at the end of the older kids’ class to work on decorating field journals, or reading and coloring.

At the end of the day I gathered all the compost, trash, and recycling and weighed it. Here are our stats for the first day:

Peace Village food waste Monday stats

 

Day 1 Bibliography:

Bang, Molly. Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share. New York, NY: Blue Sky Press, 1997.
Lauber, Patricia, and Holly Keller. You’re Aboard Spaceship Earth. Let’s Read and Find Out Science. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.
Suzuki, David, Wallace Edwards, and Kathy Vanderlinden. You Are the Earth. David Suzuki Foundation. Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley: Greystone Books, Douglas & McIntyre Publishing Group, 1999.
Wieser, Anton. STUNNING VIEWS – From Earth to Universe and Back Again. Accessed July 2, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Usj6viU0AaI&feature=youtu.be.
Full bibliography for the week:

 

Anton Wieser. STUNNING VIEWS – From Earth to Universe and Back Again. Accessed July 2, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Usj6viU0AaI&feature=youtu.be.
Bang, Molly. Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share. New York, NY: Blue Sky Press, 1997.
Barnhill, Kelly. Do You Know Where Your Water Has Been? The Disgusting Story behind What You’re Drinking. Mankato, MN: Edge Books, 2009.
Burgan, Michael. Not a Drop to Drink: Water for a Thirsty World. National Geographic Investigates. Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2008.
Cole, Joanna, and Bruce Degen. The Magic Schoolbus at the Waterworks. New York, Toronto, London, Auckland, Sydney: Scholastic Inc., 1986.
Duke, Shirley. The Earth and the Role of Water. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Educational Media, 2013.
Ely, Kosa, and Anna Johnson. The Peaceable Forest: India’s Tale of Kindness to Animals. San Rafael, CA: Insight Kids, 2012.
Gaggiotti, Lucia. How Did That Get in My Lunchbox? The Story of Food. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2011.
Glaser, Linda, and Shelley Rotner. Garbage Helps Our Garden Grow: A Compost Story. Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2010.
Harlow, Rosie, and Sally Morgan. Pollution and Waste: Environmental Facts and Experiments. Young Discoverers. New York, NY: Kingfisher, 1995.
Harper, Charise Mericle. Flush! The Scoop on Poop throughout the Ages. New York, NY: Time Warner Book Group, 2007.
Hollyer, Beatrice. Our World of Water: Children and Water around the World. Oxfam. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2008.
Kerley, Barbara. A Cool Drink of Water. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society, 2002.
Lauber, Patricia, and Holly Keller. You’re Aboard Spaceship Earth. Let’s Read and Find Out Science. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1996.
Menzel, Peter, and Faith D’Aluisio. What the World Eats. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press, 2005.
Salas, Laura Purdie, and Violeta Dabija. Water Can Be… Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2014.
Strauss, Rochelle, and Margot Thompson. Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press, 2004.
Strauss, Rochelle, and Rosemary Woods. One Well: The Story of Water on Earth. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press, 2007.
Suzuki, David, Wallace Edwards, and Kathy Vanderlinden. You Are the Earth. David Suzuki Foundation. Vancouver, Toronto, Berkeley: Greystone Books, Douglas & McIntyre Publishing Group, 1999.
Williams, Karen Lynn, Khadra Mohammed, and Doug Chayka. Four Feet, Two Sandals. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2007.
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7 thoughts on “Spaceship Earth: day 1

  1. Cherice, this is so impressive. Good job. I’ll keep praying for you and your great work. Your teaching will still be an influence on these kids when they are your age, and even mine. Fun to be able to help them, and to help the earth, isn’t it? I love You!

    Liked by 1 person

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