I just wanted to share with you that 6 fourth grade student ambassadors as well as Mrs. Woo-Sam and I went to visit the state house in Concord on Wednesday. We met with State Representative David Borden and a legislative drafter and reviewed the process of filing a bill. It looks very promising that the bill will come into existence VERY soon and there is definitely a chance that this bill might become a law. Also, two paleontology professors from UNH and Dartmouth have agreed to continue to help us with this process!
Last year the third grade students were discouraged that our state did not have an official state fossil, so they have been working hard trying to change some New Hampshire history! I am very proud of their efforts and determination, and look forward to working with them this year to see if they can help make a law.
Please help me encourage all of our fourth grade students to keep up their persistence in having a voice. It is GREAT to see what can happen when you empower students. I will certainly keep you updated with their progress
Last Monday Representative Borden came to our third grade classroom from New Castle and it was a fantastic visit! Students prepared speeches for Mr. Borden that outlined the reasons they wanted to see the mastodon become the state fossil. Students were also able to ask prepared questions for Mr. Borden. Also during his visit Mr. Borden discussed the legislative process of a bill and discussed with the students their responsibilities in the upcoming year. I think that is when the kids knew what we were doing was real – and they are so excited!
Another takeaway from Mr. Borden’s visit is how great Mr. Borden interacted with our students, and how passionate he is about his desire for more sustainable energy, for helping educators, as well as his goal in helping out our third grade class and our endeavor. Representative Tom Sherman as well as Senator Martha Fuller Clark have also voiced their support for our efforts.
When Representative Borden visited us he also learned of our field trip to Odiorne Point and asked if he could have lunch with our class. I certainly could not say no! On our field trip to Rye on the 16th we met up with Mr. Borden and his wife Nancy for lunch, as well as a reporter for the Portsmouth Herald. I was able to round up several students who answered the reporter’s questions with confidence and impressive knowledge about their quest. It was an excellent lunchtime on a gorgeous day by the ocean. You can view the article here:
Please continue to support your children in their state fossil request. Representative Borden stressed that this process will take about a year, and that he would need the cooperation of the students and teachers to hopefully make this bill a law. We will need your encouragement and support, too, as parents. I will still head up our mastodon quest even as your students move up to the fourth grade. I anticipate the fourth grade teachers helping us out next year as we take the next steps into potentially making New Hampshire state history!
Our class learned about fossils in the Fall. Most of the students were discouraged that our state did not have an official state fossil. We did research as to why we did not have a state fossil, what states do have official state fossils, and what fossil could be our state fossil. We were given advice from Professor Will Clyde from UNH and Professor Gary Johnson from Dartmouth. After careful consideration and a class vote, we had an almost unanimous vote for the mastodon to become our state fossil.
Did we stop there? NO! I typed up a letter that listed the reasons our class felt that there should be a state fossil and emailed it to several local state representatives. We received one response from Senator Bob Odell informing us that legislation usually takes place in the late summer / early fall, and that we should consider contacting him at that time.
After a few months passed the students and I were getting restless, so I decided to email our letter to some of our state’s seacoast representatives as the most recent mastodon fossil was discovered off the coast of Rye, NH. I immediately received two responses from two of our state’s representatives: David Borden and Tom Sherman. They both informed me that they would be willing to cosponsor a bill for an official state fossil! They may be able to draft a bill this fall, and if they are reelected the bill will move forward. If not, someone else would have to “carry the water”. I am also attempting to set up a visit from State Representative David Borden before the school year ends.
We will continue to advocate for an official state fossil as a class, even as our class moves on to the fourth grade. Let’s hope for the best, and WAY TO GO 3rd Grade Lightning for being a voice in our great state of New Hampshire!
P.S. We also emailed other Senators from our state and this is the response we received from Senator Shaheen:
What a FANTASTIC time we had learning about the country of Australia a few weeks ago! Below is a video montage of the culmination of our studies…ENJOY!
Way back in December our third graders participated in a unit on citizenship and learned about their rights and responsibilities as citizens of families, neighborhoods, towns, states, countries and the world. Students discussed wanting to do a community service project, and thought that going through the voting process might be the best way to choose. We even had students represent each state and we acted out our country’s electoral college process. At the end of a close election, Sponsoring a Species at Squam Lakes Natural Science Center won!
To raise funds our class put on a bake and bracelet sale and EVERYTHING was sold. Students raised over $200 to Sponsor a Species – and THANK YOU parents who helped out with the baking and bracelet-making!
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center has now recognized our class on their website as well as through a Facebook post. They will also be sending us thank-you items this week because of our donation. Below you can view the Science Center’s Facebook post, as well as their website. I have also included a link WMUR posted last year about the very species we are sponsoring – the river otters!
WAY TO GO THIRD GRADERS ON MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY!
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center Website Recognition
WMUR’s Coverage of Squam Lakes’ River Otters
A sad day, but we will anticipate even more the day we will have 24 Hours of Space!! To discourage the sadness, here are a couple of cool outer space items to check out. The first is a video that students were able to watch a part of. An astronaut gives a tour of the international space station! The second is a link to an awesome website with a free download. You can have your own planetarium right on your home computer!
Your very own planetarium!
Here are the last of our 8 GREAT PLANETS!!!