Our school is set in a small town around 5,000 people, and serves a large rural area. Our school district has approximately 2,000 students and nearly 80% of our students receive free or reduced lunch. There are students who are highly mobile, and students who have deep family roots in the area. There are students who were born on the other side of the world, and students who live on the same land their great-grandparents did.
Not all classrooms have four walls, and I believe in getting my students outside to "experience and discover" science for themselves.
I know that hands-on learning and STEM activities are the key to helping my students develop lifelong skills and knowledge.
Many of my students have never experienced the science that lives just outside their door. STEM education is of the upmost importance, and being able to teach my students in an immersive, hands-on approach is my goal! The Ozark Natural Science Center provides an amazing experience where biology, geology, astronomy, and ecology all play a part. Students will go on two different nature hikes, where they will learn about the interaction of different earth systems-how living things affect water, soil, and rocks. Students will also attend classes led by teacher-naturalists where they learn about properties of water, predator-prey relationships, and how scientists use radio tracking to learn about local animals. Students also collect and test water samples. Even mealtimes are a learning experience! Students learn the importance of eating their food instead of wasting it. When we throw away food, it wastes all of the resources that went into growing and making of the food. Students are also taught to compost. A yearly favorite is the night hike, where students venture into the woods with no artificial light!
This overnight trip is a chance for my 5th grade students to experience science in a way they can't in the "walls of the classroom." We want every student to attend this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
This grant would ensure that all of my students are able to attend!
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