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Bronxville Union Free School District

Connecting Across Grade Levels With Interactive Science Lessons

Bronxville High School students, who had been studying the Bronx River ecosystem over several weeks in Justine McClellan’s Living Environment class, recently visited Bronxville Elementary School third-graders to provide them with a science lesson on food chains.

Sophomore Josh Ramirez and freshmen Michael Swartz, Christ Visconti and Cole Zucker led the lesson before engaging the younger students in a hands-on activity. Using pictures of animals and plants, which are found in Westchester County or the Bronx River, the high school students guided the third-graders to work in groups and construct several food chains. They also explained what species are found in the river and explained their role in each specific food chain and ecosystem at large.

“Through the collaborative activity, the third-graders were introduced to essential scientific concepts using living things found in their own backyard,” elementary school teacher Stephanie Kennedy said. “Such hands-on, close-up learning makes sometimes difficult scientific concepts easier to relate to and understand.”

McClellan said her students had been collecting data and doing research on the Bronx River ecosystem for several weeks and constructed food webs as a result of their research.

“It was a chance for them to have an authentic audience and show off their expertise,” she said. “I find that students really take ownership of the learning when they have to teach it.”

The Bronxville School has created a K-12 curriculum to incorporate the Bronx River into a variety of classes and disciplines that would allow students to collect or analyze data from the river.

“The sharing of knowledge across grade levels not only deepens students' understanding but also their level of engagement in the topics studied,” Kennedy said. “Being in a K-12 building allows students the special opportunity to connect with and learn from older students.”

  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image
  • Bronxville Union Free School District - Image