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News & Announcements
 
Students learning to apply scientific method in field
By GRAHAM JAEHNIG, The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - The Gorden Barkell Elementary School is just one example of many schools enjoying science-based activities such as Family Science Night.

In addition to the science nights, students also have frequent opportunities to enjoy field trips that combine fun with discovery and learning.

The field trips allow elementary students the opportunity to enjoy hands on activities to help with learning. Gladys Dupuis and Leona Blessing, two Barkell elementary school teachers, find a great benefit to field trips.

"When it's hands on, they're not just sitting there and listening," Blessing said. "They're actively involved. That's why we want outdoor education: so we can get them outside and participating, and not just sitting inactive."
Dupuis, who teaches first grade, agrees.

"The students really enjoy them. They're outside, so they're having a ball and they're learning," she said. "It's an active thing, where we're tramping around on the trails, we're doing things on the lawn."

The field trips are held during different seasons.
"In the fall it was migration. Which birds are going to fly south, which ones are going to stay in the area," Dupuis said. "So, they kind of went through a thing with, 'What kind of food do they eat? Can they get that food in the winter? If they can't get that food in the winter, then they're going to migrate.'"

Blessing, who teaches kindergarten, explained that one of her class's field trips took place during the winter, and explored gravity.

"What pulls you down?" she asked. "So they went out on the playground and were sliding down the hill. Well, this is part of gravity." Students learned through sledding that gravity is what makes sledding possible.

The field trips are offered to all school districts and are coordinated by the Western U.P.Center for Science, Math & Environmental Education and the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach with funding from the Wege Foundation and the Michigan STEM Partnership.

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