WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The science classroom is coming alive for students in the DC metro area.
The program is called EarthEcho Expedition, and it was started by Philippe Cousteau, the grandson of explorer and film maker, Jacques Cousteau. The program is international, but Cousteau chose to launch it right here.
EarthEcho's first Expedition was to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The Expedition project includes instructional videos, online work sheets, and lesson plans for teachers. Phillipe Cousteau officially launched EarthEcho Expedition on October 9th at George Washington Middle School in Alexandria. Through his website, earthecho.org, he's connecting schoolchildren with their own watershed, while giving teachers a usable science curriculum.
Philippe Cousteau, the founder of EarthEcho International, says, "All they have to do is go to our website. Everything is broken up. They can look at it by how it's aligned to standards. There are worksheets and action guides attached to everything."
Ana Humphrey and her classmates participated in the very first Expedition, called Into the Dead Zone. The instructional videos will be used by kids all across the country, to learn about science and conservation.
Ana says, "When I went out to do the EarthEcho Expeditions at Four Mile Run, I realized that the water there wasn't very clean." Ana wants to improve the water quality at Four Mile Run, and this will be her science project for the year. Ana's teacher, was thrilled to bring this program to her own classroom. She can see that her students learn better in a hands-on environment.
Mary Breslin, Ana's Science Teacher, says, "Once I found these types of curriculums that actually got our kids involved in collecting real data, that's where I saw the engagement really grow." Ana added, "Usually in science, we're basically memorizing facts and learning how things work, but the nice thing about the curriculum we have this year is that we're learning the facts and then we're learning how to apply them to real world problems."
Teachers can use Expedition as part of their science curriculum, since it aligns with state and national standards. For Philippe and EarthEcho, getting to this point has been a long labor of love. Philippe said, "We've been working in education for over a decade and learned a lot along the way, listened to what teachers need and how we can engage people in the best of what science is."
EarthEcho Expedition is a free program and it's available online. We have more information about EarthEcho, and links to the program, on Erica's blog.