Lower School News

3rd Grade National Parks Project
Posted 04/25/2017 05:48PM

Students win contest for 3rd year to help others

For the last three years, Carolyn Cohen's 3rd grade class has been actively involved with the National Park Trust's Buddy Bison program. They have also each year entered the Trust's annual Kids-to-Parks Day contest, to win an all-expenses trip for students to a nearby park.

They have won all three years, and did so again this spring.

Just like they did in the last few years, they entered on behalf of another school's 3rd grade. "Since our students are fortunate enough to be able to go on a parks trip with their families," explains Carolyn Cohen, "we began a few years ago to enter for another class that might not enter and might not go often themselves." Washington Grove Elementary's 69 3rd grade are again the recipient of the trip that Bullis won.

"The contest is entirely kid-driven," said Ms. Cohen. "The students do all the research and writing of the application. Simon R. and Drake A. researched Black Hill Regional Park (which is located close to Washington Grove Elementary), including contacting the Visitor's Center to learn the cost of boat trips on the lake and checking grocery story ads to price water and bananas—their choice of snack—for the kids to take along.

"The application must also be filled out by kids," Ms. Cohen continued. "They had to include what was healthy about this trip, how it would be educational and what they would do to make sure the park was in good condition after they left."

The boys wrote, "I think we should win because we can really help kids learn about nature and how to make the park a better place. We are hoping by entering this contest that we will be able to send another school to a local park so the kids can earn how to become park stewards."

To supplement their submission, the 3rd graders also added some other elements. One group of students created a jigsaw puzzle for the students showing what a park should look like when it's taken care of, and the other group made birthday cards celebrating 100 years of the National Park Service. They also found some beautiful pictures of national parks and wrote poetic captions under them that were put together as a book.

The third graders at Washington Grove wrote to the Bullis students, introducing themselves and thanking them for entering on their behalf. "Their teacher contacted me," said Ms. Cohen, "and she said she and the kids were so thrilled with the prize. Our students were equally delighted!"

The National Park Trust also featured a few pieces of writing on their website from Simon and his twin sister Anna in which they took different approaches to writing about the importance of parks. Anna wrote a fiction story, while Simon shared a personal reflection:

"It is important for a nine-year-old to go to parks because they can get fresh air and see amazing views of nature. Going to a park could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You can learn about the environment and how to preserve a park. You can see geysers, beaches, huge trees, canyons and more. When I went to Great Falls, I got to see a big waterfall. If you go to a park at a young age, you will grow up wanting to help the parks. When I am a parent, I will take my kids to a national park."

Read both of their posts here.

3rd graders also researched a national park and created a shrinky dink landscape piece to accompany a brief essay about the park. See their work here.

We became artists, athletes and learners. We became friends. We became Bullis!

Mark W. '20, 5th grade reflection

Lower School students produce their own newsletter, “The Little Bulldog,” to share news from their viewpoint of activities on campus and the world around them.

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