By 509J Communications

5th grade students at Madras Elementary are learning to become more sustainable. This is thanks to a partnership between the school and The Environmental Center in Bend. Every Wednesday, 5th grade students in the class will receive an interactive lesson that focuses on waste reduction, resource conservation, and sustainability. 

The first lesson covered Natural Resources. Becky Yaeger, the Youth Education Program Manager for The Environmental Center, talked to the students about renewable and non-renewable resources and about how natural resources are used in our daily lives. 

Yaeger took the students through an activity in the class where they identified common objects in the classroom and guessed what natural resources were used to make the object. 

“Everything on the planet that you see and touch is made of natural resources,” she told the students. 

The next activity taught the kids the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources.

The students had the opportunity to work in small groups and sort through cards that had various pictures of resources on them. It was up to the students to identify what resources were renewable and which ones were not and sort them accordingly.

This series of lessons is called Earth Smart. So far, the students have learned about the carbon cycle and greenhouse gases, and waste reduction and recycling. Future lessons include composting, food systems, and water conservation. 

“It lines up well with many of our science standards and allows students to have hands on activities and experiences,” Madras Elementary 5th Grade Teacher Sarah O’Gorman said. “I look forward to getting into this series with the students and seeing what it can all be.”

The Environmental Center is also teaching these lessons to a 4th grade class at Metolius Elementary.


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