Ft. Rucker | January 31, 2013
The Fort Rucker Primary School celebrated its 100th day in school Friday, and school officials and faculty members decided to make it a day of service and learning.
The students of FRPS participated in activities like providing food for local animal shelters and creating a rock museum. The events were designed to educate and promote a cooperative partnership among students, parents, community and staff, according to Yvette Esteves-Hurst, FRPS Spanish teacher.
“Our focus was on problem solving,” said Esteves-Hurst. “[For the animal shelter project], the students decided how much food was going to be in each bag. This activity was centered on the students’ learning, and their ability to reason and think mathematically.”
When the students decided how much food would be divided between the parcels, the food was distributed into bags in amounts of 10, according to the Spanish teacher. This helped the students to learn to count by 10s, how to estimate measurement and weight, and how to read a bar graph.
“The students here at the primary school are learning and constructing knowledge as a result of meaningful and purposeful experiences,” said Esteves-Hurst. “Our students were motivated to help the animal shelters of our community because we had full support from their parents and our staff.”
The food collected was distributed to animal shelters in Enterprise, Ozark and Elba, and the students were able to collect 467 items.
“I was not expecting this much,” she said. “We started this for the purpose of teaching the children how to count by 10s. Everything was done by children, including the decorations.”
The project was not only a learning experience for the children, but also a chance for a little friendly competition amongst the students, according to Sara Dawkins, FRPS resource teacher.
“The children always like to have a little friendly competition to see who wins, so we decided to have a little contest by pods,” said Dawkins. “Whoever brought in the most food items or items for the Humane Society would get a treat, and the pre-K was the group that brought in the most.”
Along with the mathematic and philanthropic lessons the children learned through the activity, the children had the opportunity to meet a special guest, Stacey Mixon, associate professor of physics at Troy University, who visited the students at the primary school to talk about rocks – something the children have been learning about for weeks, according to Regina Davis, FRPS first grade teacher.
“We [asked] Dr. Mixon to come in all the way from Troy University to talk with the students and help them identify some rocks and bring some examples to show to the children,” she said. “This is part of our science unit and we’ve been talking about the layers of the earth, and we like to do hands-on activities so that the children understand what they’re learning.”
“I just wanted to come and show the students the different categories of rocks that we’ve got here,” added Mixon. “I wanted to show them examples of some of the rocks they would see in the areas around here, and it’s important for them to see this because it’s the environment they live in.”
Throughout the presentation, Mixon showed the children different types of rocks ranging from igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic, and asked the children to identify each rock depending on their characteristics. They were able to see and feel the rocks to determine what kind of rocks they were.
“They can identify the different rocks and tell about their characteristics, so these skills carry over into other areas of the curriculum,” said Davis. “Yes, this is science, but it carries over into reading, comparing and contrasting, and other forms of learning because they have to determine themselves what the rock is, and they seem to enjoy it.”
The children weren’t the only ones that seemed to enjoy the experience. Mixon expressed his gratitude and joy to be able to share his knowledge with the children.
“I always love talking to children. They are always so full of questions and have such great curiosity – it’s just very energizing,” he said. “It was a great experience for me.”