Thursday, June 16, 2016

Birches School hosts Professor Primack

Posted by Katherine Parisky, Associate Head of School and STEM Specialist at Birches School

On Thursday, Birches School, an independent elementary school in Lincoln, MA, hosted a visit by Boston University Professor Richard Primack. Professor Primack spoke to 2nd-5th graders about how he and his lab members track climate change by comparing the 160 year old notebooks of Henry David Thoreau with current observations and climate data. They follow several indicators of spring arrival in nearby Concord: the timing of birds and insects, flowering and leafing out times of plants, and significant changes in temperature. Birches students were especially interested in the projected changes in water levels and temperature shifts that Professor Primack outlined as predicted for the next century.

Birches students and teachers also shared with Professor Primack the details of the People for Pollinators meadow project. We are working with the Lincoln Land Conservation Trust on a citizen scientist field study, cultivating a quarter acre of land with plants selected to feed and provide healthy habitat for local pollinators. Two plots have been designed at the meadow site: one is fertilized and the other is not. The hypothesis is plants that are grown in nutrient rich soil are overall healthier and will attract more pollinators compared to plants that have been grown in untreated soil. Our students and the community at large will record meadow observations HERE. We also showed Professor Primack our indoor plant lab and described our micronutrient study of the effects of adding boric acid and manganese on buckwheat plants. We enjoyed sharing our class projects with Professor Primack.  

Background: Birches School is an independent, co-educational elementary school offering vigorous interdisciplinary academics within a mindful, nurturing environment. Our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) approach centers on nature-based thematic units designed to cultivate academic and social development and to encourage students' curiosity, creativity, self-reliance, and empathy. For more information:

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