An high-energy and engaging exposure to basic ecosystem and environmental issues
I thought this was a great tool to introduce the idea of ecosystems to students and capture their interest but I wish there were additional resources for students to go a little deeper. Although the site introduces a lot of concepts and vocabulary, students had a hard time remembering everything they were exposed to and it would be nice if there were some more activities added to reinforce their learning. I really liked the interactive and creation-based elements of the site, so the games where students could "take photos" and create drawings. They encouraged them to be reflective and actively thinking about what they were doing and learning. The educator resources are wonderful and I would like to see some photos and examples from actual camps and groups that have tried the activities added to the site. The Plum Landing site could be great to integrate into a single unit in a science class or as an after-school club but students would need access to devices and ideally time to engage in the hands-on extension activities to really get the most out of the experience.
How I Use It
I had a group of K-2nd grade students explore the website as an opportunity to do some open-ended exploration of science topics related to the Earth. Students really enjoyed getting to know the characters and the variety of resources on the site made it easy to introduce it and then let students explore on their own. The narratives in the games make them accessible even to new readers and the interactivity helped more active students stay engaged.