Davidson Green School is preparing the next generation of leaders and citizens by promoting (a) sustainability, (b) science, (c) engineering, (d) entrepreneurism and economics, and (e) community. Beyond core academics, Davidson Green School fosters the skills to be an independent, creative, and responsible thinker, to care for the school, community and planet, to create and execute original plans, to lead with respect, to work collaboratively on a team, to problem solve with ingenuity and vision, and to promote a green future and green economy.
The idea of a “green” school goes beyond creating an environmental and energy friendly physical structure, although this is certainly a goal of Davidson Green School. A green school is one that promotes a green philosophy; a philosophy that creates a way of thinking and a way of life for future generations. As a “green” school, Davidson Green School promotes environmental education, awareness, and
action at school, in the community, and globally.
A green future and a green economy require that future generations are educated in environmental stewardship. When students connect with nature, they no longer think of nature as separate from themselves. They begin to internalize the necessity to promote, preserve, and protect our natural resources.
Aquaponics is one part of our new science and sustainability lab. This unique program not only presents our students with numerous learning opportunities, but also sets DGS apart from other local schools by being on the cutting edge of technology and forward thinking in sustainability and engineering.
There are many benefits of an aquaponic systems for study and use. An aquaponics system is an ecosystem that students can study, create change in, and observe the changes in the system over time. Students get to experience how organisms within an ecosystem depend on each other. Students can analyze the water chemistry to determine if the bacteria within our ecosystem are active. We can evaluate the pH to determine if it is optimal for the plants, bacteria, worms, and fish; and then make adjustments to the system if needed. Students learn about dissolved oxygen within the system and the importance of it for the health of aquatic organisms. This knowledge can be applied to all water systems. Other topics taught through aquaponics systems include: sustainability, climate and agriculture, fish (parts, life cycle, metabolism, and care), and plants (life cycle, classification, and seeds).
Authentic learning brings science alive. When students can see, touch, hear, and experience real life learning,they learn at a much deeper and meaningful level. Students at DGS are participating in citizen science research projects as well as our own school-wide research. Through these authentic opportunities, students learn not only the substantive science of the projects, but they also learn the importance of precision in data collection, form a foundation in data analytics, and understand the fundamentals of research. One citizen science project is with Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), a community-based network of volunteers. The data students gather from the rain gauge contributes to measuring and mapping precipitation (rain, hail and snow) across the nation. Students also participate in Cornell University’s Project FeederWatch. Students collect bird data from November to April and submit this data in order to support the research and bird conservation efforts of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Students at DGS are also collaborating with Davidson College in a canker worm study. Students have wrapped the trees around DGS, given instructional demonstrations at the farmers market on reducing and preventing canker worm infestations, and have gathered data on the numbers of female worms found on the tree bands.
Children are natural born engineers. They intrinsically want to know how things work. They are masterful at taking things apart,
and equally skillful at building. Through engineering, children learn the important process of trial and error, problem solving, and revision.
Children challenge themselves to reach a goal, and willingly navigate through obstacles as a means to get to the end. They foster perseverance.
Children are also natural collaborators. They learn to talk through problems, listen to others, brainstorm, and communicate.
Engineering fosters creativity. Children use their imaginations to dream of possibilities. They learn about innovation, original ideas, and thinking outside the box. And they learn to follow inspiration!
Davidson Green School also fosters entrepreneurial skills. The word, entrepreneur, derives from the French language and translates to “one who undertakes some task”. In other words, we want our students at Davidson Green School to be the “doers” of the world, the movers and shakers, the ones who take the initiative to act.
Learning these skills as children helps ensure not only the students’ personal success but helps our society by providing a skilled citizenry. In the program, students use their leadership skills to design and execute entrepreneurial projects. Through these projects students learn about society, industry, supply and demand, resources, scarcity, opportunity cost, trade and exchange, producers and consumers.
The students at DGS study economics through real-world application. They have started their own student business from the resources at our school. The started from the ground-up by first conceptualizing their business mission, choosing a name, designing a logo, and creating a budget. The products they produce are organic worm castings, organic worm tea (garden fertilizer), herb boo-boo balm for cuts and abrasions, and medicinal herb lib balm. They sell their products at the Davidson Farmers Market.
Davidson Green School derives much of its strength and energy from our community. Students at DGS learn the meaning of being a part of a whole, ringing their voice, and contributing their unique skills to invigorate our community. Within the multiage classrooms, we function very similar to a family.
We whole-heartedly believe in the African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. We all do our part to support and foster our children as they grow and develop in each of their unique ways. As a small school, we rely on parent involvement, and cherish family contributions in building our strong community.