CF Industries grant through Ascension Fund promotes science literacy at Bluff Middle in Prairieville

Courtesy Bluff Middle School
Shown from left are Bluff Middle School eighth-grade students Lily Lyles, Addison Parrott, Jenna Blanchard, Santana Spikes, Alyha Elsherif, Isabella Gautreaux, Ava Dunham, and Colleen Carver.

Imagine a middle school science class that starts out with a picture book. Students revisit their primary years listening to rhythmic words, glossing over colorful pictures and then, wait! a connection is made to something learned in class.

Students at Bluff Middle School in Prairieville are great at making connections, discovering innovative ways to learn, and picking out details that improve their success in learning. Adding picture books to the mix solidifies concepts in a simple way and brings literacy and science together.

The goal of this project is to create cross-curricular access by introducing a new “science library” full of fiction and non-fiction resources to support scientific literacy, engage students, and promote a rigorous curriculum. This project further seeks to increase student connection between science and the real world while improving literacy skills through the use of texts. State standards call for student to analyze, argue, explain, and evaluate, and by creating a library of resources we increase their exposure and create opportunities to do just that!

With the use of different texts, students were able to have a hands-on experience with curriculum, versus constantly being attached to a device. This gave them the opportunity to discuss what they were seeing with their peers as well as develop their literacy skills in theme, character development, and summarization. Non-fiction texts allowed students to see concepts more in depth and again, included the hands-on/tactile component that they crave. Students were excited to read their texts to one another and explain how the stories brought concepts to life.

In our culminating project, “Forces of Change”, students read and analyzed different children’s books from the lense of how the books show need for awareness about an issue or scientific concept. Some of the books read were “The Lorax”, “We are the Water Protectors”, and “Grandmother Fish”

Funds for this grant were provided by CF Industries through the Ascension Fund. The Ascension Fund is a non-profit organization established in 1991 by the Gonzales Rotary Club as an instrument for private sector leaders to invest directly in the work of individual teachers and schools through grants for innovative ideas and programs in Ascension Parish public schools. Teacher Grants of $500 or $1,000 and School Impact Grants of $2,500 are awarded on an annual competitive basis. To date, the Ascension Fund has awarded approximately 1,300 grants representing over $1.55 million dollars in the school system. For more information, visit www.ascensionfund.com