Raleigh County students take on new learning tactic
BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — Raleigh County students skidded small boats across the gray, murky water at Little Beaver State Park Tuesday as part of one of the county’s first set of “Experimental Learning Days.”
Deborah Cantley, Raleigh County’s curriculum specialist, said the initiative was provided to 340 Raleigh County students in fourth grade, and they were given the chance to do several hands-on activities outside. She explained Experimental Learning as “learning through reflection and doing.”
Content standards set for Science in West Virginia were addressed, Cantley said, as students rotated through three learning stations designed by by Raleigh County Technology Integration Cohort teachers Crystal Yost, Margret Perdue, Cindi Reeves and Carla Bird.
The stations — Escape from Gilligan’s Island, Tree Identification and Nature Scavenger Hunt — highlighted several STEM aspects students are learning in schools, Cantley said, including the use of Spheros (a type of robot), iPad cameras, numbers and keynote software.
“Each station allows students to become actively involved in addressing science standards by becoming decision makers, problem solvers, and critical thinkers with each given task,” she said. “Once students return to school they will continue learning through reflection and using analytical skills to support the new knowledge for continued learning.”
One Cranberry Prosperity Elementary School student was working to build a boat to make it go across the water on its own.
Austin Long, 10, said he and his peers were trying to get the boat to reach the other side of the lake.
“We’ve been trying to fix it. It didn’t move the last time, so right now we’re trying to figure out what’s wrong and what will get it to move. It’s all actually really fun,” he said.
Long’s pal, Jayden Nguyen, another Cranberry Prosperity student, claimed putting the boat together, and using a Sphero robot to do so, was his favorite activity at the Experimental Learning Day.
“I like the activity, but I just really like working outside. I think it helps me learn everything better, and it’s more fun,” he said.
Audrey Williams, a Technology Integration Specialist for Raleigh County Schools, explained the Experimental Learning style is authentic, giving students a better chance to remember what they learned.
“It’s not just a teacher telling them what to do or how to do it,” Williams said. “It’s all hands-on. It’s them going out and doing things themselves, and figuring it out on their own.
“We all think that’s just really important.”
Information from: The Register-Herald, http://www.register-herald.com