When my third grade teacher, Mr. Lague, first told me about the Explorers Club, I couldn’t wait for the school day to end so I could ask my mom to sign me up! I was going to be part of an eight-week afterschool program to learn all about nature with Mr. Lague and a fourth grade teacher, Mr. O’Donoghue. Space was limited, so I had to turn in my form as soon as possible to make sure I got a spot.
I wanted to be part of the Explorers Club because it sounded like fun. Mr. Lague and Mr. O’Donoghue taught us about plants and animals, and showed us the effects that people have on the environment. Each week, our teachers created a game to help us understand what we were learning in the afterschool program. My favorite lesson was on the effects of pesticides on the food chain. We played a game with colorful Popsicle sticks that represented grasshoppers. Mr. Lague and Mr. O’Donoghue told us that one of the colored sticks represented a grasshopper that ate a plant sprayed with pesticides. We had to figure out which of the colored sticks represented the mystery grasshopper. After learning about the food chain, we realized how bad pesticides were for all animals.
Some of the things we learned in the Explorers Club were similar to what we learned in class, but it was always a surprise. Mr. Lague sprinkled some clues around the classroom so we could guess what we were doing that week, but every time I asked him, his lips were sealed! One time I saw silk on his window and buckets of sand. That week, we learned about pollution in the ocean. We blew bubbles into a bucket with just water, and then we added rocks and sand and blew the water again. The more sand that we added, the harder it was to blow bubbles. Finally, when we added the silk, there were no bubbles. From this experiment, we learned that fish can’t breathe if their water is polluted.
I like that the Explorers Club includes many of my classmates and other kids in the second and fourth grades. I learned lots of vocabulary from the older fourth graders, but I was also able to teach the second graders some stuff too - like the many ways they can protect the environment. Even my mom was learning from me! Sometimes, I think she was more excited than I was to find out what we were doing each week. I taught her everything we did when she picked me up after the Club. She really liked to hear about the activities that we did so she could understand how we were learning. Everyone in the Explorers Club can learn from each other and, of course, our teachers were really smart.
Because of the Explorers Club afterschool program, I know more about our environment and animals. Now, I am much more curious about everything - even my own backyard. Our school enjoyed the Explorers Club so much that Mr. Lague and Mr. O’Donoghue decided to offer a summer camp program, too. I signed up for the week called “Wildlife and You” and I’m really looking forward to it!