Fourth graders took a field trip this morning to Carter Hall in Millwood, Virginia. This authentic learning experience in Spout Run boasted four different stream study activities, including a wonderful opportunity to find all kinds of critters in the stream.
Students spent the morning learning about trout habitats, and reviewing the health indicators stemming from their previous work on campus.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better- Albert Einstein
“Being out on the Crocker always makes me think of this quote,” says Mrs. Gilpin, as she reflected on the Trout Release activity. “Through the outdoor experiences we provide our students, they gain a better understanding of the natural world around them. This understanding helps them to develop appreciation and empathy for this natural world, which will be important as they navigate through life after their time at Powhatan.”
We would like to thank the team from Trout Unlimited, Mr. Coffman and Mr. Makufka, for their expertise and engaging activities. Students need to see the connection between what they learn in the classroom and the real world. This type of learning experience requires students to engage in activities and apply what they have learned to a real-world activity.
Authentic Learning Experiences:
Authentic learning is an approach to education that can benefit children of all ages. Today’s fourth-grade stream study along the banks of Spout Run is a perfect example. After the big Trout Release students were given the opportunity to engage in authentic learning by exploring the stream and searching for bugs and critters using a sine net. This hands-on experience allows students to observe and interact with the natural environment, fostering an understanding and appreciation for the local ecosystem. This authentic learning experience encourages students to become active learners, who are engaged in the process of inquiry and discovery, leading to a lifelong love of learning.
Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning (NEAL):
At Powhatan School we use an approach called Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning (NEAL). NEAL is a lens through which we can teach any or all components of our curriculum. We use it to bring our students outside into the natural world and to bring the natural world indoors to our students.
Teachers create lessons that utilize nature to supplement classroom materials in order to engage the students. Lessons are designed to incorporate nature, regardless of the subject. The cross-curricular opportunities are abundant. It might be a field trip that combines language arts and survival skills taken directly from the novel Hatchet. Or an art and history collaboration that uses wild grasses from the meadow to construct ancient Mashuf boats.
Guest speakers and scientists are hallmarks of the program. They work directly with the children in a real-world setting. Yesterday’s foraging walk is a perfect For example, the ability to learn about foraging for food in a hands-on activity with guest scientist makes for a truly meaningful experience.