Third Graders at The Wilson School “Level Up”

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Students at The Wilson School in Clayton, Missouri, test the surface tension and elasticity of water during one experiment in their Level Up Village Global Scientists course.

This article was originally posted on The Wilson School news page on 2.8.17.

Level Up Village is keeping environmentalism and internationalism at the forefront in the third grade. For the first time this winter, The Wilson School is participating in a program offered by Level up Village, which facilitates global science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) collaboration between students from around the world. Third grade “Global Scientists” collaborated with a class in Nicaragua, sharing project files and exchanging video letters.

The students embarked on this global research project to find out more about water usage and conservation. Students learned about water, how it can be polluted, cleaned, tested, stored and understood at an atomic level.

Third grade student Rafe explains, “We found out water drops form a dome because of surface tension. A lot of atoms of oxygen and hydrogen stick together to form the dome.”

Focusing on helping the environment, the students brainstormed creative and interesting ways to lessen their usage and conserve. While the Level Up science curriculum remains strong, the partnership with Nicaraguan students has proven to be a true highlight.

Says third grade teacher Carolyn Cady, “What our students are most excited about is getting to know the kids in our partner classroom and finding similarities that they share and recognizing differences.”

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A girl at NicaPhoto in Nagarote, Nicaragua, conducts an experiment in Global Scientists. Several times throughout the course, Wilson School students exchanged video messages with their Nicaraguan partners.

In learning about Nicaraguan culture, students were shocked to learn that some of their counterparts lack flushing toilets. This discovery allowed students to become more environmentally conscious and globally aware.

Third grade teacher Mara Goldschmidt adds, “The experience has given more acceptance of differences of others that we promote here at Wilson.”

Video messages are most exciting to the students.

“We really enjoy sending videos back and forth with our partners in Nicaragua. The program translates them for us, but we get to hear the Spanish, too,” says Rafe.

The partners get to know one another by asking questions and communicating about their daily lives. The experience prompted the students to learn rudimentary Spanish, making sure to pronounce their partners names correctly. Creating the videos also provide opportunities to practice communication and technology skills.

Says student Perla, “We love learning about the kids in Nicaragua. That’s what Level Up Village is all about!”