The New Haven Public School Science Curriculum includes a focus on Earth’s Materials for second graders, specifically how materials cycle through the Earth’s systems. This unit supports this area of study and begins with
The River Ran Wild: An Environmental History
by Lynne Cherry as a foundation text. The story begins when native people first settled on the banks of the river now called the Nashua but, unfortunately, by the 1960s, the river valley had been destroyed by many years of serious pollution. Fish, birds, and other animals were no longer seen in the area. This book shows the negative impact that unregulated and irresponsible industry can have on the environment and highlights the difference one determined person can make. With this as a prompt for each one of us participating in problem-solving, my students will learn to design solutions to sets of issues within our classroom and school.
An additional introductory resource is the picture book,
The Water Princess
by Susan Verde, a story based on the childhood of supermodel Georgie Badiel and her dream to bring clean drinking water to her African village. As a child in Burkina Faso, Georgie and the other girls in her village had to walk miles each day to collect clean water for their families. This story will help shed light on the struggle that exists around the world, clearly defining a problem that my students can address, and instilling hope in the future of access to clean water for children everywhere. From these two resources, my students will develop fundamental vocabulary and conceptual understanding to begin the hands-on work that will come later in the unit.