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Studying Endangered Animals with Nat'l Geographic
Studying Endangered Animals with Nat'l Geographic
Posted on 12/04/2019
An African veterinarian challenged students to protect endangered animals through National Geographic’s Explorer Classroom program.By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications (Photos provided courtesy of Ms. Justen, Avery's Creek Elementary.)

An African veterinarian challenged students to protect endangered animals during a recent classroom activity made possible through National Geographic's 'Explorer Classroom' program.

Students in Ms. Melissa Justen’s fourth grade classroom at Avery’s Creek Elementary spoke with Rwandan veterinarian Dr. Olivier Nsengimana through an online video chat alongside students from six other classrooms across the U.S. and Canada. They spoke about the realities of endangered species, and focused specifically on the grey crowned crane, a beautiful animal threatened by loss of habitat and illegal trade.

“I want them to think globally and see people outside their world,” said Justen. “This was a science lesson in an English and social studies classroom, but it’s important for them to understand how everything is connected.”

During their time with Dr. Nsengimana, students took turns asking questions based on their preparation and assigned reading. It was an opportunity to learn about a timely topic, practice their public speaking and analytical skills, and relate lessons from multiple subjects.

“They were able to see someone doing real science in the field and start to think about their own future careers,” Justen added.

Explorer Classroom creates a virtual learning experience by connecting students with scientists, biologists, conservationists, and explorers from around the world. The chat session was facilitated by Ms. Kendra Cameron Jarvis, one of six Digital Learning Facilitators serving teachers across Buncombe County Schools.

“Integrating technology with curriculum should empower students to become creators of content, provide opportunities to collaborate with others, and use critical thinking skills to solve problems,” said Jarvis. “Partnering with National Geographic Explorer Classroom gives our Buncombe County students the opportunity to ask scientists around the world questions, learn how they are solving problems, and connect with other students. Global opportunities like this allow our students to understand the connections they have to the wider world.”

While the lesson centered on a serious topic, it ended with laughter as students from all seven classrooms flapped their “wings” in unison, and mimicked the signature squawk of the gray crowned crane.

Learn more about the National Geographic Explorer Classroom.

View news coverage by WLOS.

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