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Service learning applies science to the real world

Chicago City Day School students resumed their work near, and in, the Chicago River this school year, after stopping the trips last year because of COVID. 

Students in grades 4 through 8 all visited areas along the North Branch of the river this year to gather samples, conduct research, and perform restoration work. Grades 6 and 7 made the most recent trips, heading out on May 10 and May 12 to continue work they started in the fall. 

The students cleared invasive honeysuckle bushes from the St. Paul Woods forest preserve in Morton Grove, and then they ventured into the Chicago River to collect samples of the living things that call the river home.

Earlier this school year, fourth-graders worked in a prairie near the river, spreading beneficial seeds and collecting samples of different native plants. The eighth-graders, meanwhile, spent their time focusing on the Chicago River's water quality. Based on this work, they created displays for the annual Friends of the Chicago River Student Congress, which was held in late April.

All of our students' work, which is part of City Day's service learning program, helps keep the area's precious wooded areas healthy and hospitable for a wide variety of native plant species. The river work deepens students' awareness of the Chicago River as a natural habit and demonstrates how environmental factors can affect the river's inhabitants. All projects align with City Day's curriculum, and they bring to life what students learn in the classroom by allowing them to apply knowledge to the real world.

See a short video and a collection of photos from the year's river work below.

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