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Middle Schoolers Tackle World Issues

Over two billion acres of farmland across the globe face moderate to severe soil degradation. A group of middle school students from Woods Learning Center (WLC) found that much of this damage is due to improper use of non-organic pesticides. It was just one issue that the sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders from Woods considered as part of a United Nations General Assembly simulation.

Over the course of the school year, the students researched and studied current events from countries around the world. As a culmination to the year, teachers Jim Gaither, John Boldender, and Jenny Marshall put together this UN simulation for the kids to give meaning to world events and geography.

“This is a great example of project based learning and using subject integration to help put things like world problems into a perspective that these young mind can understand,” said Mr. Gaither. “This project combines geography, social studies, and language arts.”

The students were divided into committees and each given a country to represent. Each committee chose a current event issue to study and come to the WLC UN with a suggested resolution. The students presented on issues such as Human Trafficking and Female Restrictions, Human Rights, Worldwide Nuclear Peace and Stability, Ending Agricultural Pollution, Ocean Pollution, Controlling Heroin, Climate Change, and Terrorism.  The committees presented in front of their peers acting as the General Assembly.

Mr. Gaither and Mr. Bolender said UN assembly isn’t a new concept to WLC, but hasn’t been done in three years. The teachers said a February training with the famed Buck Institute re-energized them to bring the UN exercise back with a few tweaks and changes they learned with the training.

“The students get really engaged and involved in the process. We’ve been impressed by the depth of questions the kids are asking of their peers as they present. It’s giving them some great critical thinking skills, something that’s difficult to teach in a classroom,” said Mr. Gaither.

Special thank you to the Best Western Ramkota in Casper for providing the space for the day long assembly and to classroom assistant Diane Seville and student teacher Brandeth Hand for the assistance in making this day possible.

©Natrona County School District

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One comment on “Middle Schoolers Tackle World Issues

  1. Erin
    April 12, 2015

    Woods Rocks!

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