Outdoor Learning

Friday, May 23, 2008
Students in Becky Jeffers' third-grade class dig a trench for water to flow for the Jackson Township Elementary School outdoor classroom. Corena Herniter Photo.

* Students get hands-on learning outside

Becky Jeffers' third-grade students at Jackson Township Elementary School have spent the last two weeks constructing an outdoor classroom from blueprints.

Students have been learning about science with a hands-on experience by building a fully functional garden at their school.

The students have enjoyed finding hidden treasures from pieces of coal to worms as they dug the trenches for the water supply.

The first step for the students was to read a blueprint, adjust it to the area they were to use for their project and then begin to clear out the area and make room for the rock and plants that were arriving.

"Students are working with kids they do not normally play with on the playground and it is a great way to build team work," Jeffers said.

In addition to building teamwork, students are learning about the difference between annual and perennial flowers, animals that are attracted to particular types of plants; mainly hummingbirds, and how to be have fun and be creative.

Donations of plants and rocks from the JTE Parent Teacher Organization, parents and teachers have made this project possible for the students to have this experience.

"All students in the school are participating by each classroom designed and creating a stepping stone for the classroom," Jeffers said.

Students designed unique stepping-stones representing their class.

These seventeen stepping-stones will be placed around the birdbath in the center of the outdoor classroom.

Jeffers hopes to have the outdoor classroom finished by the end of the school year so students can come back to a blooming garden in the fall.

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