The Buzz About Impactful Learning at Wellington

The Buzz About Impactful Learning at Wellington

To shape the world, we first must be stewards of it. Our well-being and future livelihood are dependent upon us protecting the earth. Whether involving mindfulness of our individual footprints on the planet or working together as a community to face global challenges head on, every day Wellington students explore innovative approaches to achieving ambitious goals. 

When 1st graders began trying their hand at persuasive writing, teachers Tara Reed, Emeri Ferguson, and Mary Beth Parker were looking for a cause students could champion and saw a natural connection between the gardening they often did in the spring and the classes’ innate interest in bees. Knowing about the upper school apiary club, the founding of which was the result of  students Rex Harvey-Thurston ’22 and Blais Blackburn ‘22 following their own personal passion for bees, Reed organized a “Dive in the Hive” to help 1st graders learn more about this vital, but threatened, insect from Wellington student experts. With the help of Trent Neely, upper school science teacher, Harvey-Thurston and Blackburn designed stations on Roberts Field for 1st graders to learn about life in the hive, beekeeping equipment and tools, as well as best practices for bee care.

To enhance their on campus field trip, students also learned about bee anatomy, life cycle, role in food webs, and pollination. They met with the Scioto Valley Beekeepers Society over Zoom, read books, worked on diagrams, and learned songs with music teacher Laurie Parsons along with the Bee Waggle Dance. The buzz will continue when they next take center stage in their class bees, of course!

“All of this was to help students understand the importance of bees to our food supply,” Reed says. “It’s also a wonderful lesson for our younger learners to see how our school encourages and supports them as they explore areas of deep personal interest.” 

Next up, students will learn about native plants that attract pollinators such as bees. Working with Joya Elmore, director of gardens for environment-based learning, and have already planted flowers and vegetables in the Wellington garden. 

During Earth Week, faculty organized a wide-range of engaging activities for students. Kindergarteners recreated their own miniature oil spill while learning about the recent ecological disaster in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. A DIY art repurpose/upcycling event for middle and upper school students was organized by Upper School Art Teacher Jaime Bennati and Technology Integration Specialist Debra Parkes P ’26. The project included using discarded materials, such as an unused bulletin board and pages from old children's books that were headed for the trash bin, to create a massive work of art. Bennati and Parkes positioned a camera in the workspace for a fascinating time lapse recording of the process.

The power of a recorded image to educate and persuade was used to full effect in the upper school course “Advertising the Environment.” After reading the book “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash” by Edward Humes, students worked in small groups to create projects that would spread awareness and also provide solutions to the abundance of trash we produce. One group produced a video based on the popular social media “Crash Course/Draw My Life” style, in which they used a collection of illustrations on a whiteboard edited to seem like a single shot. 

“We produced a video which was aimed to emotionalize and educate how we see plastics in our ocean,” Carina Dison ’21 and Sarim Siddiqui ’21 share. “Through this experience, we not only learned more about the impact of trash in everyone’s lives, but also how to professionally work with a team than can cohesively organize and complete projects in a timely manner. Together, we made something we could be proud of.” View the video here.