Environmental Educations

Flat Stanley and Stella Arrive at EPA!

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By Jeanethe Falvey and Jessica Orquina

We’re excited to tell you that Flat Stanley and Stella have arrived at EPA! Never heard of Flat Stanley and Stella before? The Flat Stanley Project connects families, students, and classrooms around the world with other children or classrooms participating in the Project by sending out “flat” visitors through the mail (or digitally, with The Flat Stanley app). Children then talk about, track, and write about their flat character’s journey and adventures.

With EPA, Flat Stanley and Stella will be bringing children along on their adventures to learn about the environment and how we can protect it together. Children will be able to follow Flat Stanley and Stella on these adventures by reading our new blog, Stanley and Stella Explore the Environment. This blog will feature monthly stories written to help build reading and science skills for elementary age readers. Each story will be posted at first, second, and third grade reading levels.

Here’s how parents, teachers, and students can participate:

  • Share these adventures and activities as a classroom or family.
  • Print EPA’s official characters, or color your own. (You can download these characters from our blog or The Flat Stanley Project website.)
  • Include these characters in the suggested activities at the end of each story or in your own adventures.
  • Share photos with your characters via the Official Flat Stanley website or apps!

The stories and activities on Stanley and Stella Explore the Environment can be followed in a classroom, after-school program, or at home! Start today by reading about Flat Stanley and Stella’s first adventure at EPA with the National Parks Service, where they travel to Yellowstone to look for the environment!

We hope these stories and activities are fun, and that they inspire children to explore their surroundings and develop a lasting curiosity about our environment.

About the authors:
 Jeanethe Falvey writes from EPA’s Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education, as the project-lead for Pick 5 and the State of the Environment, two projects geared towards learning, sharing and gaining a greater collective connection to our environment. She writes from Boston, Massachusetts with a mind that never left the state of Maine.

Jessica Orquina works in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education as the social media lead for the agency. Prior to joining EPA, she served as a public affairs specialist at another federal agency and is a former military and commercial airline pilot. She lives, works, and writes in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Summer Vacation for Science Teachers?

About the author: Kelly Leovic has been with EPA in Research Triangle Park, NC since 1987 and loves sharing environmental science with teachers, students, and her own children.

Last summer, I discovered how many N.C. science teachers spend their summer vacation — they become students! I participated in the NC Summer Science Leadership Institute in New Bern, which offers N.C. science teachers an opportunity to learn new skills that they can apply in their classrooms.

I held three EPA workshops during which I shared our favorite hands-on activities typically used as part of our environmental education program for middle school students. I linked my activities to science topics in the NC Standard Course of Study and included one for each middle school grade.

My first activity demonstrated a fun tool for teaching students (and their parents) how to understand and hopefully reduce their energy usage. We used a Watts meter to measure the energy consumption of everyday appliances, including comparing regular and compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs, a hairdryer, a toaster, and a plug-in air freshener. The next step was to discuss how students could use these data to calculate how much energy each appliance used in a day, week, and year. For example, the hairdryer used about 1,600 Watts but is only used for a few minutes each day, whereas the air freshener used only 1 Watt but is plugged in 24/7.

Next we talked about air quality where I shared the multitude of resources available from EPA, and then we each measured our lung capacity.

Finally, I shared three fun water-related activities: one on water conservation and two on watershed pollution. My favorite activity is called Sum of the Parts and is from Project WET. One of the teachers even suggested an improvement to the activity which I was able to implement my first day back at the office when I did the activity for a group of high school students from Raleigh who came to EPA to learn about careers. Even when they are students, teachers are still teaching!

The teachers seemed excited about the new activities and eager to apply them in the classroom. I did the math and realized that this is a good thing…20 teachers times four science classes each, times 20 students in each class equals 1,600 students.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.