Since about 2011, fourth grade students (approximately 20) have been conducting in-depth studies of composting including the microscopic organisms and the food web that are part of the process. With assistance from Dr. James Thompson, WVU, they build a Beremes Funnel and examine these organisms to learn how they contribute to the health of the soil. In addition, students conduct a worm composting project using various type of materials to observe how these materials become a soil medium for growing plants (see photos below).
Students conducted an in-depth study of worms to understand their role in composting.
Since 2008, students in fourth grade (approximately 20) have been collecting data on the amount of school trash produced on a daily basis. Through their research they concluded that our school sends approximately one ton of garbage to the landfill. Armed with this information these students promote and manage Crellin's recycling program. They are responsible for ensuring that appropriate plastic, paper, and cardboard are collected and recycled throughout the year (see photos below).
Biological Stream Studies
Since 2004, fourth grade students (approximately 20) have been conducting biological stream studies in Snowy Creek. They document their findings on a data collection sheet and draw conclusions about the health of the stream. Because these studies occur several times a year, data comparisons are made. Using their knowledge of the life cycle of the benthic macro-invertebrates they extend their learning to include the food web of these organisms. (see photos below).
Since 2008, fourth grade students have had the opportunity to participate on a trip with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to one of the islands in the Chesapeake Bay. While on Tylerton or Port Isobel, students explore the Bay ecosystem and the island community. They make comparisons to Snowy Creek, which is located along school property, and the school community. This yearly activity allows students to transfer and apply scientific knowledge and skills to learn about a new location, to examine the historical and economic impact the watershed has on a community, and to differentiate between freshwater and brackish water ecosystems (see photos below).
For the past two years (starting in the 2015-16 school year), fourth grade students have been utilizing our greenhouse to set up a hydroponics system as an alternative method for growing vegetables. The seeds are germinated in peat medium and transplanted into the hydroponics system. Students learn what nutrients and the amount that need to be added to the system for the lettuce to grow. They monitor the system, collect data of the amount of water pumped through the system and harvest the lettuce for use in the school lunch program (see photos below).
Students monitored the water levels of the hydroponics and temperature to determine water usage of the system
Crellin fourth grade students learn about energy resources every year. As a culminating activity the students assembled five solar lights that were sent to a school in Ghana. Students there will be able to have light in their home to do homework.
To raise awareness of the scarcity of energy resources around the world, Crellin fourth graders partnered with 4 other Garrett County Schools to have a night of Glo-Olympics. Sporting events were powered by solar energy for a night of fun and fundraising to build the solar lights that were sent to Ghana.