Finding ways to protect water resources is top of mind for some of today’s youth.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) seeks to support students and schools by supplementing educators’ curriculums and enriching student classroom experiences with science-based research.
On May 24, the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center (FLREC) hosted the Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) 2023 Global Scholars Showcase. The evening affair featured a variety of projects by middle-school students throughout the district, who presented their innovative ideas and solutions promoting water sustainability.
“We want to be front and center supporting our youth as they engage in issues impacting environments around the world,” said Kimberly Moore, professor of sustainable horticulture and associate director of FLREC. “Today’s students recognize the importance of being active locally and globally. We are proud to be a partner with BCPS middle schools to enhance their classroom science experience and the Global Scholars program.”
Since August, more than 700 students from 27 BCPS middle schools have immersed themselves as “global scholars” in water sustainability issues locally, nationally and internationally. The curriculum promotes learning and understanding of how to use water more efficiently and effectively by researching multiple sources to learn about the water resources and issues in their communities to building solutions to the world’s water crisis.
UF/IFAS FLREC faculty and scientists have partnered with the district since 2021 to enhance the curriculum by developing and leading classroom activities such as performing experiments or adding supplemental materials that students can work hands-on during the school year.
As a final assignment, students dove deeply into water sustainability to create projects that promote potential solutions. They developed projects as a classroom, a small group or individual. Displays for sharing their work could be in the form of a display board, video presentation, diorama, poster or flyer.
The showcase serves as the culminating student experience, allowing them to present their innovative works.
Five students from each classroom that participated were recognized with awards for outstanding work, research, leadership and behavior. More than 50 students accompanied by their parents and teachers attended the showcase.
“Our global scholars program features students learning about global citizenship and global issues around our world,” said Rhonda Weimann, a BCPS’ Innovative Learning professional development specialist. “The students made displays on how to recycle, reduce and reuse water in our world, and this showcase displayed some of our students most innovative projects that are potential solutions to solving our world water crisis.”
By Lourdes Mederos, firstname.lastname@example.org
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.