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Protected: How a plastic bag of leaves can change the world – SV

How a plastic bag of leaves can change the world

When 4th grade teacher Lucia Espinoza mentioned to her students that they’d be heading outside to build a device to collect hidden water, she was surprised when a girl named Jasmin came to school the next day so excited for the lesson she brought in her own plastic bag. 

It hadn’t been like this before. 

Jasmin hardly spoke in class, and hadn’t made friends. Earlier in the year, Ms. Espinoza was so worried about her she called home to learn that Jasmin’s beloved grandfather had recently died, and her family had been traumatized by violence while abroad.  It was no wonder she wasn’t participating. 

But for this lesson, no one was more energized to begin than Jasmin. 

Determined to succeed, Jasmin led her group’s collaboration and began to shine. As Jasmin asked informed questions, her group discussed different ideas and decided to capture water through leaf transpiration.  When Jasmin and a boy in the group hit a roadblock debating which leaves would produce the most water, Jasmin realized that her extra plastic bag meant they could bag leaves in multiple locations. Though it would mean twice the work in terms of the data collection and analysis, her group was excited to test different hypotheses, going above and beyond in the project. 

After collecting data over the course of the day, and helping others use real-world math to perform the necessary calculations, Jasmin’s hypothesis proved correct. Her bag collected the most water!  

Now, Jasmin doesn’t know that women, people who are Black or Hispanic, and children from families with low-income are drastically under-represented in STEM careers.  She doesn’t know that by 6th grade, most students have been shut out of the STEM career pipeline.  She doesn’t know that women in STEM careers are more likely to report that early outdoor experiences sparked their passion for science.  

What she does know is that she loves solving real-world problems.  She knows her voice and skills matter.  She knows that she can use science and math to thrive and help others. She knows that science is engaging, exciting, powerful, and 100% something she can do, because she’s already done it.  And she knows that being prepared and excited to learn can make all the difference, even when that difference is just an extra plastic bag. 

Your commitment to Out Teach today ensures that we can continue to equip teachers and inspire their students through hands-on outdoor learning, ensuring every child gets the critical real-world science they need to thrive in the world.  

Your generosity ensures that Jasmin and her classmates will keep learning lessons that last a lifetime. They’ll learn they ALL have a place in science and STEM.  They’ll know how to use science and work together to find solutions. They’ll appreciate the scientific process and the importance of accurate data, which everyone needs to be an informed citizen.  This isn’t about getting a good grade.  This is about children building the skills that transform lives, communities, and the world.  

Thank you for your support.  We appreciate everything you do for students like Jasmine, and for every student who’s about to discover how much they love science, whether they brought an extra plastic bag or not. 

Donate now. 

Catalogue for Philanthropy Recognizes Out Teach

Out Teach Named ‘One of the Best’ Nonprofits by the Catalogue for Philanthropy

As it Celebrates its 18th Anniversary Working in the Greater Washington Region, the Catalogue for Philanthropy is Proud to Honor Out Teach

WASHINGTON, D.C.—After an intentional application and selection process, the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington has selected Out Teach to be part of the Class of 2021-22. Out Teach has undergone a rigorous review process conducted by a team of 170+ local community advocates, and has been found to be a critical local nonprofit. Potential donors can be confident that the nonprofits in the Catalogue are worthy of their support.

Out Teach re-engineers Science instruction by equipping teachers in under-resourced elementary schools to use the outdoors as a living laboratory to create hands-on inquiry-based cross-curricular experiences proven to boost achievement in every subject.

This year, the Catalogue’s volunteer review team helped select 87 nonprofits to feature in the print edition, almost half of which are new to the Catalogue this year. Over 70% of the organizations are women-led, and over 40% are BIPOC-led. The network now includes 400+ vetted nonprofits working in the arts, education, environment, and human services sectors throughout Greater Washington.

“People want to get involved in their community—they want to make a difference, close to home. Based on our rigorous review process, we believe that Out Teach is a critical local nonprofit in our region,” says Matt Gayer, Co-Executive Director of the Catalogue for Philanthropy.

The Catalogue believes in the power of small nonprofits to spark big change. And they believe in Out Teach to continue to further that positive change, working each day to lift up, strengthen, and enrich our local community.


For Out Teach
Alison Risso

For the Catalogue for Philanthropy:
Matt Gayer

Charice Chever

Thank you for all the extra effort you make to help the teachers at Boyd Elementary grow in experiential learning. I am amazed at the wonderful work you have done in creating a learning community committed to academic excellence.

Out Teach, formerly REAL School Gardens, provides professional development for elementary school teachers. Out Teach prepares them to use school gardens, outdoor classrooms, and green schoolyards to improve instruction through three-dimensional project-based learning, and outdoor experiential inquiry-based education. Professional learning with Out Teach improves hands-on science and STEM education through instructional coaching and digital education resources and improves 21st Century skills.