Fourth-Grade Students Get Inspired to Make a Difference

Who inspires you to make a difference?

Fourth-grade reading students at Matthew Paterson Elementary were inspired recently by a lesson on renowned scientist, environmental activist and chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall. The students enjoyed reading a book about endangered animals with teacher Janine Avitabile, which led to discussions about protecting animals, the earth and Goodall.

Students working on Flipgrids in the Collaboratory

So, how has Jane Goodall inspired these students?

“I learned that she likes to take care of chimpanzees and when she was little she wanted to go to Africa,” said student Savannah Arce. “She inspires me to make a difference because I want people to stop littering. It gets into the water and animals get sick or get stuck in it.”

Student Emily Lockhart was also inspired by help animals: “She made me think about saving animals in our area. Saving animals is good because they are a part of our Earth, and when you are saving animals, you’re saving our Earth.”

“If I see an animal that is hungry, I will feed the animal. I will also make a home in my backyard like a birdbath or bird feeder or something else for a different animal,” said student Alayna Gomez.

The students also explored Roots & Shoots, a website created by the Jane Goodall Institute to help empower young people to make positive change in their communities. In addition to educational materials, the website provides a database where students can search for community service projects in their local area.

“Roots & Shoots inspired me to help clean the Earth and bring solutions to our world’s plastic pollution problem,” said student Loujaine Sghaier. “I can start by recycling, then, if I see any trash in places it shouldn’t be, I can pick it up and put it in the recycling bin."

“Jane Goodall inspired me to make a difference. I need to work harder on my drawings of chimps because I want other people to ask me why I am drawing chimps,” said student Kayleen Mujica who has a passion for drawing and art. “Then, I would tell them that they can go to Roots & Shoots and find a problem to solve.”

After writing a response to the question “How has Jane Goodall inspired you?” the students recorded Flipgrid videos of their answers. With assistance from technology coach Michele Love, the students learned how to upload custom backgrounds to their videos that visually related to the topic including images of Goodall, chimpanzees and other animals. They also took turns watching each other's videos and leaving positive feedback on the project.