February 4, 2020

Student Advocacy at the Center of new Iowa Core Social Studies Standards

Iowa Core Social Studies Standards

Student advocacy and developing a classroom where students can analyze current events, ask compelling questions, communicate their conclusions and take action is at the heart of new Iowa Core Social Studies standards being implemented at Ames Middle School. This inquiry cycle took center stage when 6th-grade teachers Michelle Andrews, Carissa Danielson, and Shawn Peterson began exploring the continent of Australia.

In light of the recent Australian wildfires, the classes began to ask “How are the bushfires of Australia affecting the land and her people?” This question and their research inspired the students to take action to create a fundraising project to support wildlife in Australia. In just over two weeks, the students already brought in more than $7,000. “A big part of our social studies standards is to take action when we see a need in our world or community. This was a time when they wanted to take that action,” said Andrews. 

Students are at the heart of the project. Their passion led them to spread the word through various types of media, including local news outlets. Andrews and three students, Anika Shrotriya, Janae Proctor, and Zachary Loecke, were recently featured on CW Iowa Live to continue to spread the word about their fundraiser. While on the program, the students shared statistics about the devastating cost that the fires have caused, including how it has impacted wildlife. 

The inquiry cycle will be at the heart of a changing social studies curriculum across all grade levels in the 2020-2021 school year as we work to implement the new Iowa Core Social Studies Standards across all grade levels. We are excited to see what additional amazing actions our students will take going forward.

One way that Ames Middle School 6th-graders fundraised for the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors was through this URL: http://bit.ly/amswildlifewarriors