Hidden Valley Elementary finds nature is cool for their school

8:51 AM, Jun 7, 2011   |    comments
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  • Hidden Valley Elementary Students explore nature
  • Hidden Valley Elementary Students explore nature
  • Hidden Valley Elementary Students explore nature
  • Hidden Valley Elementary Students explore nature

SAVAGE, Minn. -- Fifth graders from Hidden Valley Elementary in Savage dart back and forth in the parking lot, sucking up water through a straw, and depositing it in a cup about 50-feet away.

It might look like another relay game, but at McColl Pond Environmental Learning Center, this game has a purpose.  "It's basically like the mama birds feeding the chicks," said fifth grader Christian Freed.

"So you're gonna walk away from this knowing the birds really work hard for their babies, right?" said their teacher.

Each spring, Hidden Valley Elementary in Savage packs up the entire school, and buses the students to nearby McColl Pond ELC. It's the brainchild of science teacher Pat Mosey.  "Kids learn by doing," said Mosey, who admits science was not her favorite subject as kid.

Mosey attributes that to the fact that when she was younger, teachers taught mainly from textbooks, not by giving students a hands-on experience.

This day-long field trip to McColl Pond is all about hands on.  Younger students might be identifying plants and animals and playing games.  Older students are learning how to use a compass, taking water samples and capturing specimens for study.

"We found a leech so far, and we're just trying to find things we don't have," said sixth grader Morgan Olson.  Her group is exploring a tub of pond water they collected with the help of Burnsville student Neal Pester.

Mosey has enlisted students from Burnsville High Schools AP Environmental Science Class to help the younger students with their exploration.  Parents and teachers also pitch in to keep things moving.

It's all in the name of education, which Mosey believes will leave its biggest impression when students approach their subject from every angle possible.

"Kids learn by doing, reading, thinking, hearing," said Mosey.  "There's a lot of different learning styles, but one that kids really benefit (from) is hands on."


(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All rights reserved.)

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