IRVINGTON, N.Y. – A group of amateur scientists from the Main Street School got some firsthand experience studying the Hudson River recently while working at various stations set up in Matthiessen Park.
According to the school district, fifth-graders from the elementary school tested the water and air temperatures, observed the environment to determine the wind’s direction and threw oranges into the river to determine the direction of the current.
Guided by local historian Bob Connick and former high school principal Scott Mosenthal, the group also studied marine life along the river by collecting shells and crabs, the district said.
Mason Canton, a fifth-grader who found a crab on the river shore, said he was excited about the Sept. 23 experience.
“Studying the actual river instead of being in a classroom and reading books is different because you get a real-life experience,” he said. “I’ve never been able to get this close to a crab before. I can study the crab and find out what it’s like and why it died.”
Susan Wallace, a fifth-grade teacher at the Main Street School, said taking the class outdoors really allowed the students to “learn through inquiry” and retain the knowledge through hands-on activities.
“We study the Hudson River as a unit in fifth grade because it’s right here in our backyard and it means so much to the environment,” Wallace said in the district's statement. “By visiting the river, the students are able to make real-life connections between what they’re learning in the classroom and what they’re actually doing here. The experience will leave them with those visuals in their heads, which they’ll be able to write about and talk about with deeper thinking and a higher level vocabulary.”
The students had previously toured the Hudson River while sailing aboard the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, an event funded by an Irvington Education Foundation grant, according to the school district, which said that the goals of the the activities are to teach children about the importance of the environment.