PPMS students lead Global Climate Conference

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2018

PELHAM – Pelham Park Middle School’s first student-led Global Climate Conference on Thursday, Nov. 29, was a success, said PPMS earth science teacher Hannah Rodgers.

Every school year, students complete research projects on weather-related topics. They usually present their investigations to their class, but this year science teachers, Rodgers and Mary Beth Brennan, decided to change it up by having them present in a conference-style setting.

“It started with a lesson by our media center specialist about proper research methods, and then the students chose topics to investigate,” she said. “They created presentations such as slideshows, videos, posters, and simulators.”

“The idea came to us when we were attending a conference,” Rodgers added. “We thought that we would organize the PPMS Global Climate Conference to mirror an actual conference with keynote speakers and breakout sessions. Each student also wore a name tag.”

Each earth science class held their own conference. After the students presented their investigations in their classroom, students voted on which presentation would be the keynote presentation. The other class presentations became breakout sessions.

In the breakout sessions, different groups were stationed around the media center and students listened to their presentations and asked questions.

“We were very impressed with how the students responded to the challenge,” Rodgers said. “Because the students have a strong curiosity about the weather and how it affects humanity, they were eager to research and create projects that demonstrated their investigation. We were also impressed by their natural public speaking skills.”

Rodgers said she was especially impressed by a group of students who investigated the effects of global climate change on the Adelie penguin population.

“It was such out-of-the-box thinking,” she said. “They researched and created a presentation showing data from their investigation.”

Brennan said her students’ creativity blew her away.

“One that stands out for me is a video that was set up as a DIY video,” she said. “She did a craft for each type of storm while sharing her knowledge about each.”

Students enjoyed the project so much that they’ve asked Rodgers and Brennan if they can have another conference for their next topic, which is earthquakes.