Science is so cool! My students have not been exposed to field investigations in grades K-4. We received approval for an overnight field trip to a state park in April. We will be immersed in aquatic biology, ecology, pedology, ornithology, and astronomy, but have no equipment.
We are a rural school in Texas.
There is only one fifth grade class. Although many of my students live on ranches and farms, their experiences with investigating nature and collecting data are extremely limited. Some of them have tragedies in their background, from parents in prison to the loss of a parent. Many others are living in blended families or with single parents. They are very resillent children and are eager to explore the world of science.
Our school allows one field trip of up to 25 miles, and one up to 125 miles. My students agreed to give up their 25 mile trip in order to receive approval for an overnight science field trip. They are committed to passing their Science TAKS test, and are excited about spending two days and one night in the outdoors in order to be successful.
My students have shown maturity and respect in handling the equipment we have borrowed from the high school lab. Their desire to earn field investigation privileges is inspiring!
As future high school graduates, my students will be required to pass end of course exams in biology, chemistry, and physics. This year they will take the 5th grade Science TAKS test. As a former teacher for Texas Tech University Junction Outdoor School, I have experienced the positive impact that hands-on, field investigations have on TAKS scores. I am trying to collect equipment for lessons in aquatic biology, pedology, ecology, ornithology, astronomy, geology, physics, physical science, and environmental science. These integrated lessons will cover TEKS that are tested on the math, reading and science TAKS tests. My students will learn to use the scientific method to test hypotheses and draw conclusions to questions that will lead them to better understand the real world applications of science and math.
While teaching at Texas Tech University Junction Outdoor School, I participated in research on the effects of outdoor learning on science TAKS scores.
We discovered that field investigations most greatly impacted the economically disadvantaged and Hispanic subpopulations. Most of my students are economically disadvantaged. Providing opportunities and equipment for this type of learning may inspire my students to seek careers in the arenas of science and math, which means success for us all!!
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