In celebration of Earth Week, students at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School participated in the school’s 12th Annual Cool the Earth program and learned what they can do to protect the environment.
The effort consisted of a series of charming yet informative videos that teachers shared with their students throughout the week. The videos showed how changes in the environment affect polar bears and sea turtles and their habitats, and the steps students can take to protect precious animals and resources.
The videos featured a cast of characters portrayed by staff members, including Science and Technology teacher Ms. Regina D’Orio as Mother Nature, Library Media Specialist Roseann Davidson as Mama Polar Bear, Principal Ms. Tami McElwee as Koda the polar bear cub, and English as a New Language (ENL) teacher Ms. Penny Koinis as Mother Earth. Second-grade teacher Mr. Brian Agostini played the sneaky villain, Mr. Carbon, and his evil sister, Ms. Methane, was portrayed by Dr. Janna Ostroff, K-12 Supervisor for Science and Technology for Instruction. The characters addressed the issues of icecaps melting in the North Pole because of harmful gases released into the atmosphere and plastics in the ocean that impact sea turtles and other marine life.
Ms. D’Orio introduced the Cool the Earth program to the school 12 years ago and has aligned it to the Next Generation Science Standards, more specifically, the standard on “communicating solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on living organisms and non-living things in the environment.”
To engage students in conservation measures, they were given Cool the Earth Coupon Books and pledged to do as many actions as they and their families could to help save the animals and protect the planet. Such steps include turning off lights and electronic devices, using cloth shopping bags or turning the water off when brushing your teeth. They also plan to recycle more paper at school and at home.
Students were asked to try something new each day at home or at school. Once students completed a coupon, they signed it and brought it to school to enter it in a raffle drawing for prizes.
One of the coupons encouraged students and their families to visit the Cool the Earth website to read about polar bears and the issues they face, and submit a pledge form. For every 250 pledges, Cool the Earth will adopt a polar bear on behalf of Roosevelt Elementary School and present an adoption certificate. The school adopted a polar bear last year due to the excellent participation rate.
“I am so excited about the learning that happens as a result of this program and the actions students and their families take to change little things like turning off lights when they are not using them, and reducing, reusing and recycling more,” Ms. D’Orio said. “By using the coupon book, students learn responsibility, citizenship and that their actions really can help protect our planet!”