Teachers like field trips, too


teachers use nature as a classroom.

KINGSTON — Science is the name, a staff field trip is the game.

Yesterday approximately 45 Gordon Elementary staff members embarked on a little Learning Improvement Day science sightseeing adventure of their own.

The goal: discover more about nearby science venues so their students can enjoy hands-on learning out of the four classroom walls.

They traveled to Cowling Creek, the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport, Fish Park and the Hansville Wildlife Preserve — all science hotbeds within a matter of minutes from Gordon.

Simply put, the teachers modeled a future student field trip for themselves.

“There’s not a need for more field trips,” said Gordon’s Principal Claudia Alves. “There’s a need for more hands-on experiential science field trips. These are field trips that impact science learning.”

The state requires every school to have a learning improvement plan for math, science, reading and writing, and with that plan there must be a goal.

At Gordon the focus a few years back was to learn more about Stillwaters Environmental Center and Carpenter Lake, which they did. Therefore, this year the plan’s the same, but the places have changed.

Alves said the trip will make teachers more aware of what the area has to offer educationally.

“If they go and get excited about it, hopefully they’ll pass that excitement on to their students and actually return,” Alves said.

If Tuesday’s excursion proves to be anything similar to the science trip a few years ago, the students will have plenty to look forward to.

Coming out of the first staff outing was a “very cool,” third-grade activity the students participate in every year at Carpenter Lake called “Each One Teach One.”

During this activity the students become the teachers. They become experts in one concept and share their knowledge with their peers.

Down by the banks of Carpenter Lake there are quasi-stations, perhaps a cedar tree or a native plant or bush. One child kicks off the learning by informing another child all they know about the bush. That child then advances to their prospective station, and one by one the children filter through until they’ve all learned approximately 20 science tips about Carpenter Lake.

“The thing that’s really nice about it is even the special education children become experts in their little field,” Alves said. “It was just really special to see that going on.”

To up this year’s bring-the-class-back ante a monetary incentive is being offered. Alves said if the teachers take their classes back to any of the four places viewed on Tuesday, the teacher will get $50 worth of non-fiction science books or science materials for their classroom. A teacher stands to earn $200 worth of coveted teaching tools paid for by either staff development, instructional materials or Title 19 funds.

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