At the far right high school junior Amanda gets ready to show her group of students how to eat like a bird during Outdoor Education Day. Seated at the table from the left are Hunter, Cailtin, Eli, Jacy, and across the table is Ty.
Juniors Taylor (left) and Heather (right) get ready to do some teaching with their group of students with Brooke on the right.
Despite cool temperatures and strong winds, Friday found Exeter's Gilbert Park full of second graders and high school students eager to learn from each other.
During the event, which lasted most of the school day, the students explored the park, made weather vanes and ate like birds during the annual Outdoor Education Day.
Exeter-Milligan second grade teacher, Marla Weber, initially created this educational day as a project when she was in college. She has tried to include an outdoor education day each year for her students.
Mrs. Weber makes up packets of ideas for the students from the Exeter-Milligan Senior High Biology 2 class of Miss Sliefert. In class, the juniors get to pick out a packet which has one topic in it, they get the materials ready to do projects with the second graders and then are graded on how well they present the materials and work with the younger students.
This year the stations included rain, insects, tracks, trees, birds, wind and senses. To keep a variety during the day the students also played several neature related games throughout the day. At each station the "students use reading, writing, math, science and social skills, while learning about their environment. Each center was designed with hands-on activities and the students had an opportunity to record their findings in a journal," according to Weber.
Both teachers, Mrs. Weber and Ms. Sliefert, agree that "It is a learning experience for both groups of students. When the high school students have to know how to teach it they realize they have learned a lot."
Ms. Sliefert said, "The interaction between the two groups is wonderful. The high school students are well prepared. Even though the subjects are simple, teaching it is a different story."
One of the goals for Mrs. Weber was, "Having the students learn about nature in a hands on experience. This helps them remember the lessons and then having take home items helps too. They will go home and share with their families what they made and this will reinforce again what they have learned today."
At the end of the day students had a pile of things they could take home including a animal track plaster cast, a rain stick, a tree ring of their life, and a wind vane along with their journal and some great memories. Neither teacher could decide which class looked more forward to the event.
Not only did both groups get to spend the day away from the school building, but by moving their classroom outdoors, they got to learn about the world around them through lessons in the park.