T3 Lesson 2: Growth Mindset

 

Very soon after introducing the T3 Alliance program it’s time to set the tone for the entire program with the introductory lesson on growth and fixed mindsets.   As I outline in the video above, this fits into three components.  1.  Teaching about growth mindset. 2 Set the tone with an ice breaker and 3. Build a robot with a brushbot.

Here is the link to the presentation  referenced above. The easiest way to get students on the same page is to share the Carol Dweck RSA Animate video.  The video will introduce the importance of how we speak to each other about our work.

You may want to look for some materials for an ice breaker.  These can be short pieces of rope that can be used to start off the program in the Infinite Loop Handcuff Solution: https://youtu.be/aiNl-EL6vfk.

Ready yourself for the brush bots with a plan for how you intend to allow for a competition to move forward.  It may be that you have some rulers that you tape down to the table in a format for tracks.  Here is a link to a resource that can be used with instructions for a brush bot competition

APPLICATION

Do a challenging activity together where students will be outside what they are comfortable doing.  Can they, under stress, manage their emotions and practice good feedback to themselves and others?  Do they give up?  After the activity, have them rate themselves with the attached EffortRubric

We believe in allowing curiosity, exploration and PLAY to happen.  It means kids have to feel safe to explore and have fun, even in the midst of failures.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The term we now use is “neuroplasticity” to change the way our brains think.  

 

Imagine your brain is like a forest. You could potentially make a walk­ing path anywhere, but ahead of you is the road most often followed. The ground on this path is smooth and compacted, the brush has been cleared.

It’s easy to walk on, especially since you’ve walked it hundreds of thousands of times before. You walk on it automatically, unconscious of the decision to move in its direction rather than go, or be, another way.

If you want to change a belief or a habit or a physical sensation or negative self-talk, you must create a new path. You need to take a road less traveled.

You’ll need a machete to clear away the brush and branches. You’ll probably get scratched by spiky plants and twigs along the way. It will be hard.

You may ask yourself “Why bother? There’s a perfectly good path just over there.”

It’s easy to slip back into old ways of being.

That’s why most of all, it’s absolutely necessary to walk on this new path over and over and over again until the ground is smooth and compacted, until the old path has for grown over and the forest has reclaimed that space with a density of plants. Now the easy path is the one you created, consciously and with a healing intent.

Here’s a 5-minute video about Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset.

Remind students that it’s only through failure that we gain our greatest knowledge.

 

REVIEW

Congratulations on taking the first step towards your students learning all they can and not limiting themselves or others.  Changing from a “fixed” to a “growth” mindset is not easy.  We often revert back to what we know when under stress.  Encourage your students to keep this in mind as you continue to reinforce positive feedback.

 

Other tools you may want to tap into are from Carol Dweck’s site:  https://www.mindsetkit.org/

 

 

 

RPi Airquality Station: setting up the default flow

Goal:

Connect to the airquality station’s node-red instance, and configure the Grafana node.

What you will learn:

How to connect to the airquality station’s node-red, and detailed info on the Grafana node configuration.

 

What you will need:

An airquality kit connected to the internet, as per this tutorial: https://t3alliance.org/rpi-airquality-station-setup-and-access/

 

Connecting to Node-Red:

After you have connected your pi to the internet (https://t3alliance.org/rpi-airquality-station-setup-and-access/) you’re ready to setup the default flow to log data properly to Grafana.

If you’re using the pi locally (with a keyboard and display plugged into the air-quality station) you can just open the browser and click the Node-RED bookmark in the bar.  If you’re on a different computer, first find the IP address to use from the mini-oled on the airquality station, and then on your own computer enter as the URL. IP_ADDRESS:1880. Our airquality station was assigned the IP address of ‘10.71.0.196’, so to access our Node-RED flow I use ‘10.71.0.196:1880’.

Configuring the flow:

The default flow is pretty big, but not that complicated.
The part we are interested in is at the very bottom and looks like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the sensor-nodes are being injected into a Grafana node, and then the Grafana node is being injected into a text node to print the url onto the display.
If you double click the Grafana node you’ll get a settings page like this.

The default settings do work, and do log your data onto a webpage where you can view graphs etc. However the default location is somewhere in the Arctic Circle, and you get a random jumble of numbers and letters for your Grafana url.

So the only two settings that need changing from the default are ‘Geohash’ and ‘Location Name’.
For the Geohash you can click the link in the settings page, or here: http://geohash.gofreerange.com/

Scroll around on the map, and zoom in to find your location, be mindful of how many digits you use. The geohash data will be public on the world-map. You can tell from how specific the location is from the size of the squares.
Looking at this shot of east Hawaii, ‘8e98’ is pretty good at showing where I kind of am on the island. ‘8e98n’ Shows what half of hilo-town I’m in. And then ‘8e98ny’ shows the exact area of streets I might be on. I wouldn’t recommend going further than ‘8e98’, or even ‘8e9’.

The second option is the location-name, this will allow you to use that name in the aqeasy url instead of the serial number that resides there right now. You can’t just use anything you’d like though. Location Names are not reserved, or restricted; so if you use something obvious like ‘School’, or ‘Outdoors’ you might find your data being overwritten by someone else in the future.
One other caveat is that data always sticks to the name it was uploaded with, so if you change your location name any data you recorded with the previous name won’t be on the graph with it.
So whatever name you chose now, the data on your graph will be from this moment on.

You can leave Location Name blank, the only downside is you have to use the serial-number url to look at your data.
I’m using easyboticsHilo, so now my data is visible here: g.aqeasy.com/easyboticsHilo

Remember to hit ‘deploy’ in the top right corner after you’ve finished making changes.

The data on Grafana won’t update visibly for a few minutes after you’ve set this up.

 

Viewing your data:

Once you have set your geohash in the flow and deployed, your data will start being updated onto the public world airquality map.

http://map.aqeasy.com

Your own data is viewable at the URL displayed by the default flow. If you change the flow so that it’s not displayed anymore remember that it’s being constantly outputted from the grafana node.

Here is what my data looks like at http://g.aqeasy.com/0e1c6c307

RPi Airquality Station: setup and access

Goal:

Connect your airquality kit to the internet to enable online data-logging. Either through WiFi or a wired LAN network.

What you will lean:

The best method of configuring your airquality kit depending on what hardware is available.

Parts List:

easybotics airquality kit

 

Introduction

The easybotics airquality has a default configuration that even logs your data to the grafana map, and gives you a url to access your graphs. The problem is you can’t change the node-red flow, update your geohash from the default (in the arctic circle), or create a custom-url for accessing your data. This tutorial will try and guide you through various ways to start using your airquality station to its full potential.

 

Option One: I have a puzzlePi kit

Congratulations, this is the easiest possible way to connect to your airquality kit.
First hook up your display, keyboard, and mouse to the airquality kit as pictured:

First you’ll need to setup your wifi country and timezone, the tool for doing this opens by default so it should be right there.

The most vital step of setup is getting the airquality kit onto your WiFi network. This can be accomplished with the wifi applet, here:

Next restart the pi or power cycle, when the flow starts up you should see an IP address on the mini oled display.
Now you can move on to the next tutorial: https://t3alliance.org/rpi-airquality-station-setting-up-the-default-flow/, you can even complete this tutorial using just the pi build into the device.

 

Option Two: I have a HDMI display and a keyboard/mouse

this option is actually identical to Option One, except instead of  using the puzzlePi’s display and keyboard you can use your own, scroll up and read Option One.

Option Three: I have a LAN network (simple)

If you have a LAN network that you’re PC is always connected to you can easily hook up your pi to that.
First just connect the LAN cable here:

Power cycle the airquality kit, and hopefully it should be assigned an IP that appears on the mini-oled.
Now you’re already to move-on to the next step. https://t3alliance.org/rpi-airquality-station-setting-up-the-default-flow/

 

Option Four: Use LAN to setup the WiFi

VNC server is enabled by default on the airquality station, so once you have a LAN connection as established in Option Three you can use this to setup the wifi.
Follow these instructions https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/remote-access/vnc/ to setup VNC client on your machine.
Remember that VNC is already enabled on the airquality station, so you can skip down to the ‘Connecting to your Raspberry Pi with VNC viewer’
VNC viewer can be downloaded for your personal computer here: https://www.realvnc.com/en/connect/download/viewer/

Remember that the IP address is listed on the oled display.

Once you have the desktop, you can use the same steps from option One to setup your wifi and move onto the next tutorial!
https://t3alliance.org/rpi-airquality-station-setting-up-the-default-flow/

Register

Onboarding Training – For sites that are new to T3 Alliance
April 3-6, 2019 • Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico Brochure


March 15-18, 2019 • New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans Brochure 
 
UB Summer Prep – For sites that have been to a previous training
May 9-11, 2019 • Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas Brochure

 

For more information, contact: info@t3alliance.org

RPi Airquality Station: Logging Airquality-Data to Grafana

Goal:

Log data to an online grafana database, and then view the resulting graphs and maps.

What you will learn:

  • Configuring easybotics air-quality sensors,
  • setting up the grafana logging node
  • viewing the logged data.

 

What you need to know:

Parts List:

  • Full easybotics air-quality station kit
  • Raspberry pi
  • Internet Connection

 

 

Setting up node-red:

Start Node-Red and navigate to 127.0.0.1:1880  using the web browser. Drag in all the air-quality nodes, and the BME node from the palette.
Select the C02 node, from the drop down menu select ‘Add new sensor manager’; the only configuration here is to switch the ‘Automatic C02 calibration’ to ‘Manual’.

By default the C02 Sensor will zero itself to the lowest C02 level it detects in a 24 hour period, pinning that value to 400ppm which is the atmospheric baseline. If your air-quality station is indoors, or in a crowded place this might lead to inaccurate data so you can change it here to manual.

Next select the PM concentration node, and Particulate node and select the Sensor Manager you made from the dropdown.

With this the config is far enough too start printing data to the led-matrix (if you have one); with the setup looking like this.

 

For the next steps you’ll need the influxdb username and password that should have been provided to you.
Select the ‘Publish to Influxdb’ node and enter your username and password here.
For the GeoHash field you’ll need to use a tool like this one: http://geohash.gofreerange.com Drag the map around, and click to generate different scale geohashes. Remember that the more digits you use the more specific of a location you’ll be providing to the T3 database.

Now you can link all the sensor nodes into the publish node like so:
The URL status below the node is where you can find your logged data, sadly you can’t copy and paste out of the status bar thing.  The node pushes the url out as a message, so using a debug node you can retrieve the URL and view your graphs.

 

Traveling with the Raspberry Pi Box

If you are traveling with the raspberry pi box the most important thing you have to do is to take the screwdriver out of the box. Although if you check your box that doesn’t matter. Even if you take your screwdriver out you should expect some stops at the TSA because carrying a box around with a whole bunch of electronics is a little suspicious. The only other thing is that you should be pretty careful with your box but other than that you should be fine.    Safe Travels

 

Air Quality Monitor Kau Coffee Mill

NOTICE – The Spec-PPB SO2 PPB data along with the other sensors is an experimental sensor and should be treated as such, it is interesting to track the numbers but accurate results would require calibration and comparison with official data. Please do not use this data as a basis for any important decisions. This is an educational project built by high school students from around the island of Hawaii.
Thingspeak Channel Link

Air Quality Monitor Keaau Shelter

NOTICE – The Spec-PPB SO2 PPB data along with the other sensors is an experimental sensor and should be treated as such, it is interesting to track the numbers but accurate results would require calibration and comparison with official data. Please do not use this data as a basis for any important decisions. This is an educational project built by high school students from around the island of Hawaii.
Thingspeak Channel Link

Air Quality Monitor Volcano School of Arts and Sciences

NOTICE – The Spec-PPB SO2 PPB data along with the other sensors is an experimental sensor and should be treated as such, it is interesting to track the numbers but accurate results would require calibration and comparison with official data. Please do not use this data as a basis for any important decisions. This is an educational project built by high school students from around the island of Hawaii.
Thingspeak Channel Link

Air Quality Monitor Rainbow Falls – DOH Co-Located

NOTICE – The Spec-PPB SO2 PPB data along with the other sensors is an experimental sensor and should be treated as such, it is interesting to track the numbers but accurate results would require calibration and comparison with official data. Please do not use this data as a basis for any important decisions. This is an educational project built by high school students from around the island of Hawaii.
Thingspeak Channel Link

Air Quality Monitor Pahoa Shelter

NOTICE – The Spec-PPB SO2 PPB data along with the other sensors is an experimental sensor and should be treated as such, it is interesting to track the numbers but accurate results would require calibration and comparison with official data. Please do not use this data as a basis for any important decisions. This is an educational project built by high school students from around the island of Hawaii. Thingspeak Channel Link

Air Quality Monitor Papaya Farms Road – Dragon’s Eye Farm

NOTICE – The Spec-PPB SO2 PPB data along with the other sensors is an experimental sensor and should be treated as such, it is interesting to track the numbers but accurate results would require calibration and comparison with official data. Please do not use this data as a basis for any important decisions. This is an educational project built by high school students from around the island of Hawaii.
Thingspeak Channel Link

VOG

NOTICE – The Spec-PPB SO2 PPB data along with the other sensors is an experimental sensor and should be treated as such, it is interesting to track the numbers but accurate results would require calibration and comparison with official data. Please do not use this data as a basis for any important decisions. This is an educational project built by high school students from around the island of Hawaii.

Links to the data from the sensors:

Papaya Farms Road – Dragon’s Eye Farm

Pahoa Shelter

Rainbow Falls – DOH Co-located

Keaau Shelter

Volcano School of Arts and Sciences – has internet issues currently

Ka’u Coffee Mill 

Psychology, brain research, and the growth mindset

“You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” is a classic saying expressed by many frustrated teachers, parents, and presumably horse owners that expresses a sentiment associated with the lack of willingness of an individual to engage with the materials in front of them that that are likely to be helpful to them.   What is it about the horse, or the student that keeps them from engaging?  Brain research has shown that the brain’s fight or flight response (amygdala) is activated in stressful situations in which one’s social status is threatened.  An unprepared student who sits in front of a Raspberry Pi device  with a lot of wires, buttons, and weird looking sensors may feel threatened and choose not to engage.  Looking incompetent in front of peers, especially for teens, can be a very stressful experience.  Both psychology and brain research provide us with clues to help mitigate this stress response and convert the experience into an opportunity for growth.  Play is perhaps the most important and natural method to shoot past the “engagement breaks” being applied by the amygdala in a new learning situation.  Teaching students about the concept of the growth and fixed mindset provides self aware students with a tool reframe their fears into learning opportunities.

Play is an essential part of growth for all animals.  Kittens playing with their tails, and human children playing in a sandbox are both examples of healthy neural development in which the limits of the surroundings are explored and “learned”.   Play as a research topic is huge.  Brain imaging studies have shown that when play is occurring, its difficult for the flight or fight response (amygdala) to be engaged.    For students who have not traditionally been successful in school or in STEM topics, the need to reframe potentially stressful learning situations is imperative.  Students can not truly learn when they are scared.  What we tend to see in the classroom are behaviors that a student can hide behind when they are challenged to learn something that threatens them.   In the T3 alliance, we begin with, ice breakers,  brush bots, and Minecraft (a sandbox game) because they help replace fears with a sense of creative exploration.  When these activities are done as part of a group in a fun and festive way, a bonding experience occurs that helps form social connections that are essential for human growth.  At later points in the program, students play with combining various sensors and outputs in order to “do” something cool. When this is combined with the direct instruction of growth and fixed mindset measurable progress is observable.

Growth and fixed minutes are terms coined by Carol Dweck to describe how students perceive themselves and their relationship to their learning.  Fixed mindset students essentially believe that their intelligence is fixed and that a new learning situation is a threat to their status.  Its likely that a student with this paradigm would see a raspberry pi and a bunch of wires and sensors as threatening.  Students that exhibit Growth mindset, in contrast, see a new learning situation as an opportunity for growth.  They are more likely to embrace the challenge and “play” with the various components.  Not knowing how to do something is an opportunity to learn, asking for help is not seen as a sign of weakness to them.  Teaching students about these mind sets in a non threatening environment gives them a framework to draw upon in a more frustrating situation later on.  The same problem solving skills used fix a brush bot can be employed when setting up an elaborate self driving vehicle.  Teachers who understand the difference between effort based praised (growth mindset) and label based praise (fixed mindset) have tremendous power to influence a student’s resilience.

A student who is confident in their ability to “play” with a new piece of technology, gain an understanding of its limitations, and ask for help within a safe community is poised to find meaningful ways to apply it towards the betterment of the community at large.  In the t3 alliance program we aim to curate an environment in which students feel safe to explore the limitations of a technology and then find ways to allow students to apply that technology to a problem of appropriate measure.  While creating an engaging and nurturing environment is the critical first step, the power of the program lies within the community engagement opportunity that is fostered through the design thinking process.   

Puerto Rico workshop

Puerto Rico workshop Blog – Adam Low

Day 1

I was a bit nervous setting up for my class this morning with the 16 T3alliance students at the Upward Bound program in Puerto Rico. I hadn’t spoken Spanish to a group of teens since early in my teaching career when I taught at bilingual schools in Colombia and Ecuador.  I always try to remember that new students want to know who you are, and want to know that you care about who they are.

I spent the prior evening preparing a slideshow with a bit about my family, my background, and my role in T3 alliance.  I finished with an exciting set of stories about what students in our T3alliance program were doing in Hawaii.  The kids were visibly excited to set up cameras and sensors and make the kinds of things I had described.

After just having helped students in our Hawaii program complete this kind project in just under a day, I felt pretty confident of where things were going when I asked the students set up their Raspberry Pi boxes.  To my surprise, students weren’t able to get online because of a discrepancy between the clock on the pi’s and what the browser expected to see.  I spent several minutes trying to fumble around with one students pi, while at the same time realizing that they had not had the ability to use the internet up until this point.

I was shocked, and was preparing to teach all the students how to set up the LED light ring and camera with words alone, when a student in the back of the room came forward with a solution that he had found on some website.  It involved going into the terminal, and setting the date.  After this, we were able to reboot the pi’s and access the t3alliance website.

A few students stepped forward and made it work for everyone.  A sense of relief washed over me, because I rely on the website (or someone else who is more knowledgeable than I) to know what goes where in Node Red.  Here is a forum post describing how to fix it.

The students were eager to try everything on the website.  I directed them to start with a the LED ring, and then the camera.   Some students were able to make their equipment do what the tutorials said, and others were stuck.  I had kids get up and walk around the room and work with each other to try to diagnose the problems.  This worked to a degree, but when I couldn’t figure something out, and none of the other kids could, we sometimes had to shrug our shoulders and try the next sensor.

By the afternoon, we had enough sensors working on a handful of different pi’s, that the kids had the idea of how things could be combined to make a project.  Francheska had converted the mini grant proposal I shared with her into Spanish and she helped lead the students through a brainstorming session about how the school might address the security issue from broken windows associated with Hurricane Maria.  The students, with the help of Francheska, divided themselves into teams with specific tasks associated with gaining an understanding of the problem and brainstorming some possible solutions.

After the students left I had a chance to meet Steven, the regular instructor for the T3alliance program.  He wasn’t at the training in Reno, but he had familiarized himself with the pi and taught the students to use the sensors with python.  He will work with me tomorrow.

After everyone left, I had a chance to re-learn Node Red and build a tutorial for the project.  I learned just how much I was leaning on my team in Hawaii to do all of the “complicated” stuff.   I can appreciate what the instructors in the T3programs across the country might be going through as they try to make the technology work.

There are now several new posts on the site, one that will hopefully be fun for all your students is the Node Red Selfie Station set up post.  I plan to share this with the students here in Puerto Rico tomorrow.  If all goes well, they will be able to turn the technology described here into a security system for the university.

Day 2

On the second day of the training the students came into class and I pointed them directly at the tutorials.  I was eager to share everything as quickly as possible, and get the students working successfully on building what I had put together the evening before.  The plan would be to have everyone build the button activated camera selfie station, and then we would collectively apply that same technology to building the security system for class room that had lost its windows from Hurricane Maria.    

Some students were good at following online tutorial, others were either waiting for me to tell them what to do, some were sneaking onto their phones when I was distracted helping another student.  The fact that some of these students spoke better English than others might have played a role. They were polite when I asked them to put them away, but I could tell they didn’t all feel comfortable getting up and moving around the room to ask others for help when I was busy.  

After about an hour 75% of the students had a successful selfie station.  I asked the student that had demonstrated her leadership skills to lead the class in hearing the reports on the tasks from the previous day.  Some students had not done their tasks, others had done an amazing amount of work, measuring, taking photos, and presenting everything in a nice folder.  A few of the mini grant proposals were filled out with clear information. Having a discussion with 17 students was tough, especially when some felt like they were good for doing their work and others felt not good for being slackers.  We walked to the room and discussed what the system might look like with the most engaged students. The other students stayed behind and spoke with Francheska about the mini grant proposal and staying engaged.

We developed a plan to mount the Raspberry Pi’s above one of the ceiling tiles, and cut tiny slits that would just fit the thin ribbon of the Pi cameras.  We unwound a network cable made extension wires that were able to fit perfectly into the jumper wire cables that came in the kit. There were enough jobs here that almost everyone stayed busy.  A few students were working on the Node Red Flow, some other students worked on getting an email that was ready to receive photos, and the rest of the students were hovering and offering some sort of help.

During lunch I made sure all the Pi’s were set up to be on the same network as the wifi hotspot so as to be able to control them through the network when no screens were attached.  The regular university wireless network worked to send data, but it didn’t work when we wanted to “talk” to the Pi’s. It has to do with the security they put in place.

 

We spent some time after lunch working on the final setup when Francheska announced that she had secured a field trip opportunity for our last day to an area that had experienced damage after Hurricane Maria.  The students were very excited, and eagerly accepted the renewed requirements to brainstorm ways that the class might use sensor technology to help in the community.

After a few final checks with the cellphone and making sure the wires had good connections, we came to the moment when we were ready to install the sensors.  The students carried the ceiling tile sensor setup to the classroom and got right to work. Suddenly everyone was involved. The ceiling tiles were moved and students passed the sensor to the area with the broken windows.  

 

After plugging in the pi’s to a power source, the students ran over to the various windows and began waving in front of the sensors.  One student was watching the gmail account on his phone and yelled out that he got something. The moment when the photo opened we knew it worked.  Collective congratulations went around, as the students purposely triggered more photos. Francheska went and spoke with the facilities director who came and saw the work of the students.  He was obviously impressed and thanked the students for their work. The students were glowing with pride and promised to maintain the system and help make sure it worked. Discussions began organically on how the system could be impoved or added to.  Plans were made for science type experiments to understand the limitations and capacity of the sensors and their adjustments.

This was a successful day in my book.  The students “felt” like they had done everything, but I knew just how much effort I had put in to assure that it would work.  What had really worked is that the ownership and efficacy had been allowed to foster and germinate. The kids “thought” that they could this kind of project now, and they saw stubborn determination and growth mindset as a skill that they had access to.  It will be exciting to visit some rural areas of Puerto Rico with these students to see what ideas they have for future projects.

Day 3

Today was an excursion day with the goals of exposing the students to some possible project locations, doing some service learning , and having fun.  The students arrived in the morning and submitted their homework from the previous class.  The ones who hadn’t finished their homework, filling out a mini grant for a possible project in the community using Raspberry Pi and sensor technology, had to go and finish their work while everyone else waited.  This method turned out to be very effective, as the students waiting gave suggestions and feedback to get the team on the trip as quickly as possible.

I used the time to go through the plans for the next several weeks of class with Steeven, the T3 instructor, and the students that Francheska and I had identified as the lead students in the class.   You could see the students I spoke with puffing their chest’s out as I told them how impressed I was with their effort and their growth mindset.  They agreed teach other students in the program how to use the website, set up the sensors, and continue modeling the growth mindset as they found new projects to work on.

Francheska gave me an Upward Bound shirt to wear on the field trip, and we piled into the van and headed off to El Yunque National Forest.  This area has been a protected tropical forest region since 1875 when Puerto Rico was a Spanish Colony.  Its a tropical rainforest with trails, waterfalls, and a number of endemic species.  It suffered greatly during Hurricane Maria and many of the roads and trails were still closed.

We went to the visitor center where Francheska and I spoke with Megan, the park superintendent, about partnership possibilities while the students viewed a natural history movie.  Megan was very supportive and said she would speak with scientists who are in the park about some possible projects.  She helped us understand how we would need to navigate the process of getting teams of students into the park to work with scientists and to install our home made sensors. When I informed the students about the conversation and the possibility for projects, they were visibly excited. 

After lunch, we went to long sandy beach on the south east corner of the island.  Francheska handed out garbage bags and had the kids work in pairs to pick up the beach.  Some of the trash may be due to Hurricane Maria, but most of it was likely left on the beach by the local visitors.  The experience was awesome, and students were eagerly finding trash stuck the many crevices between rocks partially buried the sand.

After an hour we had collected a small mountain of bags.  Francheska laid out the rules for getting in the water, and handed out a tennis ball.  For an hour the students played catch like elementary school children in the warm shallow waters while Francheska kept a watchful eye from her beach chair.  On the long ride home, the two students next to me fell asleep in a position that showed just how much energy they had expended during the day.

Francheska and Steeven understand the importance of allowing students to engage and give back to their community.  Giving back in a conscious way fulfills a basic human need for belonging.  The students here understand the expectations and rise to the challenges that are put in front of them.  I look forward to watching them grow over the next few years.