An educational excursion to the Amazon
Dr. Christine Moseley, a professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching at the College of Education and Human Development, joined more than 30 other educators from around the United States for the 2013 Educator Academy in Peru this past summer.
The workshop, which ran from July 2 to July 16, was designed to teach educators, from elementary to university level, about the tropical environment of the Amazon Rainforest and the high mountainous environment of the Andes through hands-on activities and discussions. According to Moseley, the participants can then turn around and use that information, which will cover topics ranging from water sustainability practices to data collection to plant and animal adaptations, to educate their students.
“The [workshop leaders] were from all over the U.S., and they were very clear that they tried to make what we experienced applicable to the classroom no matter where [we] came from,” said Moseley.
During the workshop, which was co-sponsored by Arizona State University and EcoTeach, Moseley facilitated the collection of data measurements from the rainforest floor and from the canopy to analyze using the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program curriculum protocol. These inquiry investigations and data collection methods, she said, were just some of the things she brought back with her to UTSA, a national GLOBE partner school, and specifically, the graduate-level science methods course she is teaching in the fall semester.
“I brought back to the classroom the investigation [done] out in the field; how you can collect data with kids no matter where you live,” said Moseley, who is also a national GLOBE facilitator. “I think a lot of the discussions on the trip were like that, what do we do in our own environment that impacts the rainforest, climate, pollution...and vice versa; if things happen over in the rainforest, how does that impact us?”
As part of her trip, Moseley worked with local children at the Centro de Conocimiento Compartido public library, established by the Conservación de la Naturaleza Amazónica del Perú, A.C., or CONAPAC, a Peruvian nonprofit organization. To continue the library’s literacy efforts, Moseley collected fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults in Spanish that she took with with her to Peru.
“Personally and professionally, it was like finally getting to see something that you’ve heard about and read about all your life but never really thought that I was going to get to experience it,” Moseley said. “When you do these types of things, it only makes you a better educator; then I have a better understanding and a bigger idea of the world and I can only bring that back to the classroom.”