Hands on STEM Using Place Based Learning

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Carbon School District Press Release

It’s one thing to learn about science and technology in the classroom.

It’s another to actually learn about it by watching, handling, feeling and smelling it.

That was the goal of Creekview Elementary’s field trip to Huntington State Park on October 7 as 460 students from the school had a hands-on experience concerning engineering and biology.

“A few of the teachers along with myself are getting a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) endorsement through Utah State University,” said John Thomas, the principal at Creekview, after the trip. “In the classes, we are learning more about how to integrate STEM into our schools. We have been doing school-wide STEM activities for the last two years. This year, each class partnered with another class, an upper grade class with a lower grade class. Kindergarten-3, 1-4 and 2-5 are the grades that are partnering together. Each student worked with their ‘buddy’ from the partnering class.”

In that endeavor, student teams engineered a water wheel that were taken to the reservoir in the park and tested out. Once tested by Thomas and observed by othersk the students took notes and made plans on how to improve their devices.

But there was more to it that watching some liquid swooshed into the water wheels to see if they worked efficiently. Teachers have been teaching science concepts to the kids at the school and the students were taken to the reservoir to see it in action. Some grades were looking and comparing living-nonliving organisms, some were observing animals and their habitats, some were looking for rocks or soils, some were looking for weathering and erosion, and some were looking for evidence of human interaction at the park. School personnel took iPads for students to use to take pictures of what they were observing.

After returning from the park, students worked with their other-grade partner to complete writing assignments on their experiences as well. It proved to be very beneficial for the students to work as partners to complete their projects and assignments. One could observe great discussions that were held between the grade level buddies.

The students also received an education about the state park and what goes on there. Jonathan Hunt, of the Division of Wildlife Resources, spoke with the students about the park and some of the wildlife that exists in it. Former Creekview teacher Leigh Ludington also talked about the water and the habitats around the park, and worked with students on observations about those things.

The entire event was to give students a PBL (place-based learning) experience.

It was a great sunny and warm day and a wonderful way to teach and give students the opportunity to get out into the real world and see how science works.

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