Environmental Learning for the Future | 2017–2018
WHAT IS ELF? Environmental Learning for the Future is an educational program developed to promote an understanding and appreciation of the natural world and increase environmental literacy. We hope to encourage children’s curiosity and concern about the natural world and to provide hands-on experiences for learning. ELF encompasses four different year-long concepts: Cycles, Adaptations, Designs of Nature, and Earth and Sky. ELF has been piloted in classrooms here at Mitchell with great reviews. It has also been very successful for the past 19 years at our neighboring school: Kyffin Elementary, where they have a tremendous amount of parent and teacher support. We are hoping to continue the success of the program at Mitchell.
See what ELF is all about.
WHO CAN HELP? Looking for enthusiastic parents, grandparents, family friends, community volunteers who would enjoy going into a classroom for hands on teaching. Training and materials are provided. We need at least six volunteers per classroom!
Designs in Nature is our topic for the 2017–2018 school year.
Unit One: Leaves and Cones (September 18-October 12).
This unit focuses on leaves and cones. While leaves very greatly in appearance and texture, they are all designed as food producers for trees. Cones are designed with structural layers of overlapping scales to hold and protect their trees and plants. ELF will be teaching identifying characteristics, playing games, distinguishing patterns, cone creations, and outdoor exploration.
Unit Two: Spiders and Webs (October 23-November 17).
Spider webs are well designed to carry out their food-trapping function, as are the spiders that spin them. ELF will be teaching spider identification (w/ live specimens as well as photos and illustrations), sharing the wonders of web weaving and silk spinning, show how web-spinning spiders feel rather than see the prey caught in their webs, go on a spider scavenger hunt, and a spider craft.
Unit Three: Snowflakes and Tracks (January 16-February 15)
In freezing temps, water may take on many forms, each with its own design and special beauty. Snowflakes are particularly beautiful geometric frozen crystals that vary in shape and design. Tracks and traces can provide insightful glimpses into the lives of animals whose actions are otherwise hidden from us. ELF will be teaching snowflake design, examine and identify tracks and traces of animals, learn how track patterns can help us identify animals that create them, and to invent a story and tell it with tracks.
Unit Four: Camouflage (February 26-March 23) CURRENT UNIT
Many creatures are shaped or colored to blend into their surroundings. These different designs of camouflage are critical to the survival of those animals. ELF will teaching the different types of camo used by animals and insects, showing how tricky it can be to see the outline of camouflaged objects, demonstrate how matching color is effective camouflage, constructing a creature that will be camouflaged for a specific habitat, and to think effectively about the impact of effective camouflage.
Unit Five: Honeybees (April 9-May 4)
Honeybees are fascinating insects whose uniquely designed physical and social structures contribute to their survival and success. ELF will be teaching the structural designs of a bee’s body and beehive cells, how honey is made, compare human life with honeybee life, bee-havior, honey tasting and more!
Questions/Comments: Denise Richter 970–373-7708 MitchellELF@gmail.com
When will my child’s class participate in ELF?
HOW MUCH TIME? Volunteers need only give about 4 hours during an ELF month (bi-monthly during the school year); time approximation is given:
- Attend a fun 1.5 hour training workshop where volunteers are given an outline to follow for their teaching session and get introduced to the exciting materials
- Research and prepare for in-class workshop
- Lead a dynamic, always evolving, 90 minute hands-on teaching workshop in the classroom.
You too, can help launch ELF! Be a leader in learning!