Students use Skype for research

NORTHVILLE — Students in sixth and seventh grade English classes have recently been engaged in project-based learning using Skype to further the research for their projects.

English teacher Jayme Bevington said the Northville sixth grade English classes are currently creating a case for or against the reintroduction of the wolf as a species in the Adirondack Park.

She said the students have been studying wolf behaviors and characteristics, the impact of wolves on human populations, the habitats of the Adirondacks and Yellowstone National Park, and the impact of the wolves on the environment.

Utica Mobile Zoo recently visited the students to discuss and introduce some of the endangered animals native to the Adirondacks and other parts of the country.

“Students got to see a rescued falcon, a chinchilla and a tortoise,” Bevington said.

Later in the month students will Skype with Yellowstone National Park to learn about how the wolf reintroduction program is going and ask questions to aid in their research.

“The goal of the project is to have sixth graders argue a case for or against bringing back wolves into the Adirondack State Park,” Bevington said. “Their information will be presented to local business owners, Department of Environmental Conservation officials and other stake holders and their research is meant to persuade government officials to bring back the wolves or prevent them from taking a habitat in the Adirondacks.”

Bevington said the seventh grade English classes are engaged in a project — co-created by Bevington and co-teacher Katie Bogart — based around, “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. The novel is about a middle school student who is born with a facial deformity.

The students are creating an awareness campaign to be implemented in the community which focuses on a genetic disorder of their choosing. Their goal is to help make people’s lives with that disorder better and bring about empathy.

Bevington said after reading “Wonder” the students recently Skyped with Jono Lancaster, who was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a cranial facial deformity. Lancaster was given up for adoption when he was born due to his deformity and has since become an advocate for people with Treacher Collins and other facial differences. His UK based foundation, Love Me Love My Face helps families and children around the world with medical expenses and spreads a message of choosing kindness over hate.

The students are also studying past successful awareness campaigns to help formulate ideas and will have a T-shirt sale to raise money for the Love Me Love My Face Foundation.

“I am hoping that the students learn to empathize with people who are different from themselves,” Bevington said. “I want to help them recognize to no matter [who] you are or what you face, kindness is a universal language that we all need to speak.”

By Josh Bovee

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