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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Integrating Technology with the Refuge

Region 3, August 19, 2013
Kids in Anna Edlund's class showing off their iPad creations.
Kids in Anna Edlund's class showing off their iPad creations. - Photo Credit: n/a
iPads are an engaging tool that helps every student create their own original work.  Here kids are learning about animal tracks before going outside and searching for real tracks.
iPads are an engaging tool that helps every student create their own original work. Here kids are learning about animal tracks before going outside and searching for real tracks. - Photo Credit: n/a

As part of the Partner Teacher program at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Rapids Lake Education and Visitor Center has teamed up with twelve local, urban schools for nature-based, off-site learning experiences that align with Minnesota state education standards.

Two schools from Carver County’s District 112, Bluff Creek and Chaska Elementary, visited the refuge at the Rapids Lake Center for their winter field trip. School District 112 received a Power Up grant as part of their district’s initiative to integrate technology into 21st Century learning, and enabled them to purchase iPads and use them during their field trip to the refuge. The resulting video of a fourth grade field trip exemplifies student’s excitement while showcasing the district’s “I Wonder” initiative at the same time. Students were encouraged to use higher order thinking skills about the world around them to help develop a sense of place.

Anna Edlund, District 112’s Program for Academic Challenge coordinator and a fifth year Partner Teacher with the refuge, made this video in conjunction with District 112’s Environmental Institute. Anna also wanted to make this video because in her words, “I have long been impressed with Minnesota Valley Refuge and their attention to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program, also referred to as STEM, and the fabulous opportunities the refuge offers to integrate this program following the state standards. I tell other teachers it’s more than just a field trip, it is an incredible off-site learning experience.” The Program for Academic Challenge plans to bring a group of ninety fourth grade students back to the refuge for their third seasonal field trip of the academic year.

This is the refuge’s eighth successful year integrating the Partner Teacher and Partner School program with local schools at both the Bloomington and Rapids Lake Unit of Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. For more information about the Partner Teacher and Partner School programs, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/minnesota_valley/.

Contact Info: Kristin Raveling, 952-858-0715, kristin_raveling@fws.gov