Field trip piques student interest in scienceThe third graders from Franklin Elementary were breathless from their adventures as they ran across the field near Wolter’s Prairie.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
The third graders from Franklin Elementary were breathless from their adventures as they ran across the field near Wolter’s Prairie.
“We saw a crawdad!” exclaimed one.
“This is fun … Hey, Mrs. Thole, this is fun!” yelled another as she ran to join her classmates near the pond.
Third grade teacher Beth Thole said roll call Thursday revealed an almost perfect attendance. Imagine that.
“This is the first time I’ve had kids come up to me and say thank you for doing this,” she said.
Thole teaches a unit on habitats, and last year began bringing students to Willow Creek for some hands-on learning.
“They can relate to the things I’ve been teaching them,” she said, “We can do only so many hands-on things in the classroom.”
This year, the field trip was expanded to include more presenters and learning stations. Students learned about prairie mammals and plants, native birds and fish and water quality.
Thole even borrowed molds of animal feet so students could learn tracking by making tracks in a sand box — though the crowd favorite was the presentation on pond and shore life.
“We found some crawdads and waterbugs,” explained third-grader Jaden Abels. “We’re learning about ponds and what they have in them and what’s on the bottom.”
Later, students went on a nature walk through Wolter’s Prairie led by Ron Spengler, executive director of the Osceola County Conservation Board.
“There’s things that are interesting in this part of the state that aren’t agriculturally related,” he said. “(Students) still don’t know what this area has to offer and what it used to be like — that’s always intriguing to me. Those first people that came out here, man, they had to be some tough people.”
The day also provides a good opportunity to get students interested in science.
“The education associations are saying we need to include more science in our education and if we can get kids excited about science that’s the huge goal,” said Thole, who would also like to expand on the school’s science lab, possibly adding an outdoor classroom. She will likely continue the yearly trips to Willow Creek.
“We’ve already had parents come up and say this is wonderful … if you’re going to do this again we want to be a part of it,” she said. “We’re getting kids excited about being outside and nature and protecting our environment. I guess that’s a passion of mine.”