Habitat Partners is an ongoing urban-suburban partnership program between fourth- and fifth-grade classes in one suburban school and classes in two schools in two urban districts. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education, Hillside Elementary School (Somerset County) teachers Katrina Macht, Maria Ciccarella, Mark Heinbach, Jennifer Kohan, Christine Pelcak, and Tara Hueston will continue the project with approximately 250 Hillside students who will become partners with 250 children in urban schools. The participating students will have the opportunity to get to know students living in communities very different from their own, as they explore principles of ecology together.
Teacher leaders in both the urban and suburban classes will work together to guide students through inquiry-based investigations that incorporate themes related to ecology. Participating classes will integrate strategies and skills in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies as they interact with their partners throughout the year. Specific scientific investigations will correlate with concepts presented in the districts' fourth and fifth grade life science units.
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