What Others Say about IEEIA
Comments by Professionals, Students and Parents,
and a Student Interview
What Professionals Have Said About the Investigating and Evaluating Issues and Actions Curricula.
You know you've made an impact on learning when students return the following school year asking if they can continue taking action on the issues they investigated the previous year! . . . This isn't something students learn for the moment, these are skills learned for a lifetime of problem solving.
Earth Science Teacher, Maryland
It's great to watch students finally become excited about science.
Middle School Teacher, Illinois
At last . . . a curriculum that makes me feel like a rejuvenated teacher. Each day with my class is new and exciting and most importantly, the students are working with something that will be meaningful to them the rest of their lives.
Grade 5 Teacher, Missouri
. . . not only allows students to ask "What can I do?", it gives them the skills to find out and then makes them feel empowered to do it. It teaches them to become responsible citizens in the society of man.
Middle School Teacher, Maryland
. . . issue instruction is, by far, the best method I have ever used to bring the "real" world into the classroom. Students who experience issue instruction are much better critical thinkers and are able to analyze "real" life situations and make informed decisions.
Middle School Teacher, Illinois
At last . . . a curriculum that makes me feel like a rejuvenated teacher. Each day with my class is new and exciting . . .
Delores Roth, St. Genevieve, MO
. . . not only allows students to ask "What can I do?", it gives them the skills to find out and then makes them feel empowered to do it. It teaches them to become responsible citizens in the society of Man."
Cheryl Overington, Easton, MD
. . . the best method I have ever used to bring the "real" world into the classroom."
Gary Warren, West Frankfort, IL
This isn't something students learn for the moment, these are skills learned for a lifetime of problem solving.
Karen Cifranick, Bel Air, Maryland
It is an exciting approach that reaches all students, not just the gifted, but the at-risk as well. Students acquire a personal involvement with issue-related knowledge and the motivation to act on the issues they face in their community.
Bill Gavila, Kansas City, MO
What Teachers, Students, Parents and Community Members on Molokai, HI Have To Say About this Curriculum.
Note: What you read here, especially the words of the students, are exact reproductions of what was said. The grammar is not always perfect but the pride they have in themselves is remarkable as is the pride felt by the teachers, parents, and community members.
Our small and isolated island community seems to be constantly besieged with issues that reflect a broad range of scientific, environmental, and social concerns. It is a joy to be able to offer our future leaders a tool that will empower them with the ability to delve into and gain comprehension of an issue through a thoughtful process. The power comes when they take the information they have researched and developed, and learn that they can act in a way that is socially responsible and at the same time produce positive change.
Middle School Teacher
The biggest impact I have seen [is] with my daughter's public speaking skills and interviewing. . . . I see her actively seeking out information. She asks me and sometimes I send her materials from work. For me, what intrigues me the most are interviewing skills. I kind of caught her interviewing people [over the phone] and she was very professional. I thought, when I looked at her future, that I saw a potential for journalism or even radio broadcasting.
Molokai Parent of a Sixth Grader
I think that the [Ieeia] kids have been so impressive at times, that there have been adults who have shaped up and thought, 'Id better do my homework [about issues] because those little kids might show up and ask me a question and I better know the answer.'
[The Ieeia program] gives our students the opportunity to internalize their locus of control. It can be any conflict. 'If I [quoting the students now] take that action then I have the responsibility for it.'
Now, our students are more aware of consequences. I think that they are re starting to apply this to their everyday life - it just isn't environmental. These students are citizens who can resolve conflict.
Middle School Teacher
Usually I read newspapers and magazines about environmental issues. I don't see a lot of students my age or older than me reading newspapers and magazines. They are just running around and playing sports.
Molokai Sixth Grader
When we do issue analysis, and those kinds of things, we really got to go back, - read through - write things down. I don't think other classes in the sixth grade do that. I am not too sure, but I don't think so. That's helping me for learning. and, the fact that all the words, all the words inside there, are unnatural to what we usually write down, and it helps us write down more words - big words such as conclusions and inferences - things like that.
Molokai Sixth Grader
A 2002 Interview With Ms. Katlin Milkey, an
IEEIA Student in Easton Senior High School
Q: How did you get into the Ieeia class.
A: I have always been interested in the sciences so I asked my guidance counselor if I could get in the class as an elective.
Q: How long have you been involved in the ecology club?
A: For three years and President for two of those years.
Q: And how many students are members of the Ecology Club?
A: This year we have around 18.
Q: Is it an action oriented group?
A: Uh huh.
Q: Tell me a little big about what you have done this year.
A: This past March we went to FL and did a service project at Blue Springs National Park. We pulled up invasive species and cleaned up around the park. It was a very good experience.
Q: Who is the advisor . . .?
A: Ms. Hutchison is.
Q: Did she go with you?
Q: Blue Springs is a rather famous area. Did you see the Manatee?
A: Um, Ms. Hutchison saw one at night but we didn't get to see one.
Q: I have had the same luck you had. I haven't had a chance to see one either. OK, Let's go back to Ieeia. Did you like being in the issue investigation program?
A: Yes. I completely loved it. It is one reason why I maintain the academic world that I do.
Q: And, just in general just how important do you think it was for you?
A: It is one of the best experiences I have had as an academic class. Issue analysis was one of the things that was very important in determining my interest in general.
Q: OK. What was the issue you worked on when you had the course?
A: I worked with the declining horseshoe crab population and what was causing the decline . . . if it was declining.
Q: And what did you find?
A: We found that there needs to be more research involved in terms of numbers. Yet, the population is being affected to some extent. Either by industrial pollution or human effects on the population.
Q: Did you come up with an action plan?
A: Our action plan was to raise horseshoe crabs in the classroom and then set them free. But that wasn't very successful. The teachers got involved in the program at Delaware Bay because of our contacts with them. Ms Hutchison went and learned about that [Delaware Bay] population.
Q: I'm going to shift gears a bit Katlin. Do you think that the program influenced your reading skills or your writing skills or both?
A: I think it influenced my ability to write research papers. I had no experience whatsoever with writing actual scientific research papers until I took the course. Now, because of that program, I have been experienced in writing those papers and have been able to develop my skills.
Q: One of the things we find, especially with younger students, is that they branch out and read different kinds of resource materials. Did you find that too?
A: I did feel that we have got to be able to experience a variety of journal works that we read in the class and that was a pretty big impact.
Q: I don't want to put words in your mouth but does this mean that you read more scientific material as the result of your issue?
Q: And where did you go for those resources?
A: . . . for the horseshoe crab we looked at scientific books provided by the [unable to translate] labs. We also looked at all of the library articles we could find on horseshoe crabs.
Q: OK. Another thing . . . one of the big things with us is something called technological literacy with students. It involves more than computers. Did the work you did impact technological literacy.
A: I think it did. My group presented at the science symposium for the AP students last year. I am not a very good public speaker. I'm awkward at public speaking. I'd have to go up there and present with the power point presentation with which I had no experience at all prior to the investigation that we did.
Q: Are you saying that you are now a more confident public speaker now?
Q: Now, one of the big features of the program is problem solving or inquiry . . . whatever. What did it do for you in terms of investigating problems or issues?
A: I learned more about the jurisdictional levels that we had to go through with an issue analysis. Like, we had to go to the officials that cover the crab population or contact the governor for more information on the Maryland statistics.
Q: What kind of survey did you do when you did the crab study?
A: We did an opinionnaire about what the local people knew about the issue and general information.
Q: What did you find out about the local people.
A: We found that they had some extent of knowledge about the horseshoe crab but they really didn't have much knowledge about whether it was declining or that kind of stuff.
Q: Can you broaden how this experience broadened your interest in the environment?
A: I have also been interested in the sciences and animals and by experiencing the class and the project I was able to narrow my general career in the sciences. I decided that I wanted the environmental sciences. I want to pursue a career in environmental science.
Q: Do you have a feel for or any evidence that either you or your friends or both are more active environmentally outside of school now.
A: We are more aware of the issues that were presented at the symposium last year like the water shortage or the horseshoe crab.
Q: But, do you see anything going on that is impacted by the students?
A: Um, I think that telling your friends that you should recycle or water conversation - do not take longer showers - that kind of stuff. My friends and I are very active in the recycling program at school is one example and you carry that out into the community.
Q: And so by and large you are doing two different kinds of things - persuasion and physical intervention at some level.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the reaction of your parents to this work, especially Ms. Hutchison's program.
A: My parents were very proud of my ability to research. They supported the program wholeheartedly. Um, they supported the environmental aspects and, if I had a particular belief, they would go along with it.
Q: So you did spend time talking with them about your work with your issue and others?
Q: How would you classify Ms. Hutchison as a teacher?
A: I think she is excellent. She is basically my role model. I would love to experience like the academic and environmental commitment she has as a teacher. She taught me a lot and she is definitely my favorite teacher.
Q: What would you like to tell me about the program or your experiences or anything?
A: I think that, overall, the program and the experiences with the Ecology Club has changed me into a person wanting a career in the environmental sciences. . . . This has brought me to a horizon of real-life application that I had never been exposed to before. I have also qualified in the AP environmental sciences portion of the [state] exam.
Thanks a million Katlin.