P.K. Yonge students savor Creek School
Students learned enviromental science from their older peers.
Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 10:28 p.m.
Creek School, which is in its sixth year at P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, is a day to look forward to for the school's youngest students.
Instead of attending regular class, the kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders get to spend the day learning about science around Tumblin Creek, which flows through campus. And, instead of being instructed by their regular teachers, they get to take a lesson from some of their oldest peers.
Wednesday's on-campus field trip was a product of biology teacher Mickey McDonald, who applied for and received a $10,000 grant from Toyota and then continued to find funding through donations and occasional budget allocations.
As kids skip around to different learning stations to participate in hands-on activities about everything from seed germinations to adaptations of cacti, McDonald can't help but smile at the fruits of her labor.
"I think this is important, especially now when science is hard to fit into a curriculum that puts the only emphasis on reading and math," she said.
As much as McDonald smiles, the kids smile more. Whether they are measuring leaves or constructing butterfly replicas out of construction paper, laughter tumbles out of children's mouths. After every activity, the students have to write what they learned in their "Traveling the World of Science" passports. One student at the flower station writes: "The stimm stors the water."
Unanimously, the most anticipated activity of the day is the I spy game that allows the students to walk around in Tumblin Creek. Hannah Montana shoes and miniature Nikes are traded in for rainboots, and the kids get to play in a usually off-limits area while discovering the types of creatures that dwell there.
Some students, though, enjoy gaining the extra knowledge of science more than the extra playtime.
Cheyenne Mortimer, a 7-year-old second-grader, said her favorite part about Creek School was the chance to look at a flower through a microscope.
"Before Creek School, I didn't know there was a vein in a petal," Cheyenne said.
But for the kids, it's not just the knowledge or the fun that makes Creek School so special, but a combination of the two.
"I also got to make a flower with my BFF Cody and learn about the petal, the stem, the pistil, and the other part I can't remember," Cheyenne added.
While refining their knowledge of biology and earth science, the high schoolers who receive a test grade for imparting their wisdom also get to revel in a different kind of knowledge: that they showed a group of young kids a good time.
"The faces of the kids as they step into the creek is just priceless," said Julie Castillo, a ninth-grader.