Westerly fair teaches environmental science

Bay Village children’s librarian Anne Lynch leads a trio of Westerly students in a hands-on experiment demonstrating a principle of air pressure. Photo by Tara Wendell

On May 9, the "Plant New Ideas" environmental fair celebrated the 20th birthday of Westerly School’s Outdoor Science Lab, a natural habitat in the center of the school and a certified National Wildlife Site. The students in my third-grade class received a grant from Bay Education Foundation and support from Westerly’s PTA to create, organize and implement the birthday party for the Outdoor Science Lab.

The students stayed after school once a week since the beginning of January to prepare their activities: stations with games, puzzles and interactive events. The students had relay races with bees gathering pollen and nectar and another race acting out the different stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. The Bee Master Challenge focused on fact and fiction about bees. Large scale posters of the Outdoor Science Lab were cut into smaller shapes to be reassembled. A scavenger hunt in the Outdoor Science Lab had participants matching photos of the plants with the growing plants in the Lab. The students planted terrariums to sell. A display with melting ice demonstrated the plight of the polar bears’ shrinking habitat. The students manned the different stations.

In addition, the students invited community groups to join the party. Visitors to the party sampled fresh fruit from the Green Team and learned how to compost it. The Village Bicycle Cooperative allowed visitors to take apart bicycles for recycling. Bay Library had several hands-on science experiments from osmosis to water friction. Bay Garden Club shared their expertise of seeds and perennials. Environmental Management Specialists allowed visitors to try on equipment that is used when cleaning up toxic spills. Lake Erie Nature and Science Center brought along a possum, owl and snake as well as several activities.

Happy Birthday, Outdoor Science Lab! May you continue to flourish with beauty and knowledge for all the students and community.

Martha Fisher

3rd Grade Teacher at Westerly School, Bay Village

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 9:35 AM, 05.13.2014