Starting at the Roots: Geneva Middle School North science students learn observation skills

Geneva Middle School North science students learn observation skills

  • Jennifer Benjamin and her seventh-grade Life Science students at Geneva Middle School North take the classroom outdoors to learn about native plants and prairies.

    Jennifer Benjamin and her seventh-grade Life Science students at Geneva Middle School North take the classroom outdoors to learn about native plants and prairies. Courtesy of Geneva Unit District 304

  • Learning how to identify grasses by their leaf shape or seed composition is one of the observational techniques taught in the Life Science class at Geneva Middle School North.

    Learning how to identify grasses by their leaf shape or seed composition is one of the observational techniques taught in the Life Science class at Geneva Middle School North. Courtesy of Geneva Unit District 304

  • Popping open a milkweed pod shows the brown seeds ready for harvesting to be planted next spring to attract monarch butterflies.

    Popping open a milkweed pod shows the brown seeds ready for harvesting to be planted next spring to attract monarch butterflies. Courtesy of Geneva Unit District 304

  • Field guide books like "Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers" by Doug Ladd can be used to identify over 250 prairie flowers and grasses found in the Midwest.

    Field guide books like "Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers" by Doug Ladd can be used to identify over 250 prairie flowers and grasses found in the Midwest. Courtesy of Geneva Unit District 304

 
Submitted by Geneva Unit District 304
Updated 11/16/2020 12:45 PM

As part of their unit on prairie life and native species, Jennifer Benjamin's seventh-grade Life Science classes at Geneva Middle School North have been building their critical thinking skills through the observation of natural habitats.

Students learn that observation means employing one's senses and trusting their attention to detail, which is crucial to the identification of plants and insects and their further exploration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Once students observe and draw a particular plant according to its unique texture, color, leaf shape, seed composition, or smell, students then identify their species through the use of their field guidebooks.

According to Benjamin, this hands-on experience fuels students' curiosity and encourages discussion -- while the fresh air and beauty of nature provide an added bonus.

The school at 1357 Viking Drive was built in 2006, just to the east of Peck Farm Park, 385-acre natural retreat.

In 2008, Geneva Middle School North won a Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Great Lakes National-Greenacres program. These awards recognized projects that demonstrated exemplary use of native landscaping and conservation design.

These practices create and protect habitat for a variety of native plant and animal species and result in important benefits for both people and nature.

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