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Mark Traxler (Upper Elementary Teacher) traveled to Belize in the summer of 2014

Mark Traxler (Upper Elementary Teacher)Mark Traxler (Upper Elementary Teacher) traveled to Belize in the summer of 2014. The trip to Belize was with Miami University; Earth Expeditions a Master program geared toward teachers. In Belize Mark studied the Coral Reefs and the impact humans have on this underwater environment. Mark wanted to bring this experience back to his classroom at Central Montessori Academy.  He decided to research the question; “How do you nurture empathy and connectedness in children for the preservation of coral reef ecosystems when they live in Ohio?” Mark first gave the students a traditional lesson using a book with associated worksheets and then gave students an inquiry lesson where the children participated in actively researching and building a reef tank in the classroom. Mark then surveyed the children to see which experience helped children feel more connected and empathetic about the coral reef. The Upper Elementary students were more connected and had more knowledge after they engaged in the Inquiry lesson. More importantly however was the amount of focus and excitement the children put into their research, knowing that the end product would be a coral reef tank they can enjoy in their classroom. The children are both excited and proud of their accomplishment and have learned a great deal about the coral reef and the important role humans have to save the coral even when they live in Ohio.  Come check out the coral reef tank in the Upper Elementary Classroom.  If you are interested in reading Mark’s research paper click here.