SAO PAULO, Brazil - Restoring the greenspaces of Brazil is an enormous task, one that will require specialized knowledge of the plants that thrive in this country's vast, diverse growing regions.Middle-school students at Escola Estadual Inah Jacy de Castro Aguiar have spent the last few years mastering some of those scientific lessons, but on a much smaller scale.
Teacher Gilmar Viana dosSantos explains that students have learned about environmental concepts through an interdisciplinary project located right on the school grounds. Planting in the school project involves students who siteand then study herbaceous shrubs in the open spaces of the campus.
The class began restoring the environment on their own school grounds
The ambitious project began in 1999, when studentsprepared the ground by removing debris, adding organic compost and other nutrients to the soil, and then planting seedlings of native species. As the weeks and months went by, students closely observed theyoung plants, noting which species were better adapted to the setting.
The observation engaged students in the study of language skills, with reading selections carefully matched to the horticultureproject. Geography was also woven throughout the project, and more science was introduced when students were taught about horticultural methods such as the use of bio-insecticides.
Studentscatalogued the various species. Many were donated by the seedling nursery of Parque do Carmo, or Carmo Park, in Sao Paulo. Donated species included moreia branca, yellow jasmine, and orelha de urso, or bear'sear.
The project laid important groundwork, "preparing pupils to conserve the new places of plantation," explains Viana dos Santos. What's more, the young botanists "changed their relation with theenvironment," the teacher observes, "perceiving the importance of the environment in the quality of life."
Eventually, students' results were published on CD by the Brazilian Society for Science...
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