The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism shares this good-news story that underscores the value of hands-on learning.
Determined to find a way to increase the scores of fifth graders on the state's science Benchmark exam, Maribel Childress, principal of Springdale's Monitor Elementary School, arranged to have fifth-grade students visit Hobbs State Park Conservation Area once a month last school year.
Childress and science teachers worked with the park's interpreters to integrate the science curriculum into field trip activities at the park. Things like fossils, decomposition and life cycles of insects became much more than words in a book for the fifth graders. They became objects and events to experience, learn about and really understand. Students loved it.
And as for Benchmark performance? Scores increased significantly last year. The school now has expanded the Hobbs State Park field trips to younger grades.