Using song, games, and crafts to teach about the environment

While in Roatán, the members of the Project Honduras Curriculum Committee implemented an environmental protection curriculum. The curriculum was designed so children could see how their actions impacted the surrounding environment. We decided to teach this particular aspect because Roatán is surrounded by the Mesoamerican coral reef. If residents of La Colonia litter or produce run-off, it flows directly into the reef, killing hundreds of species of plants and animals. Through song, art projects and games, members of Project Honduras taught eight classes of first through sixth graders how to minimize their impact on the environment. On the first day, members taught students a song (based on “Old McDonald Had a Farm”) that connected how their home—La Colonia—was in Roatan, which was in the sea with the reef. To solidify this connection, the students drew puzzle pieces with scenes of La Colonia, the surrounding jungle, the reef and the sea. Students connected the pieces with their classmates to make an entire ecosystem. The following day we built upon the song, teaching that if students litter in their community, it will end up in the sea and kill the reef. We built upon this idea through environmental Jenga, where students would pull out puzzle pieces with the name of an animal or plant that lives in the reef out and replace them with puzzle pieces that had the name of a pollutant. After too many animals were removed and too much litter was added, the ecosystem collapsed. The third day we did a community building activity that helped the students realize that they would never throw trash in their house and question why it was okay to throw it in the street. The final day we helped students come up with ideas of how they could minimize their impact on the environment and helped the students pick up the trash in their neighborhood. It is our hope that this curriculum will lead to long-term change in student behavior, so the level of litter will decrease in the future.

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