First grade students at The Learning Center Charter School used nature, reading lessons, and E-STEAM to make holiday ornaments as part of their studies leading up to Christmas break.
E-STEAM stands for entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, art and agriculture, and math.
The students read books as a class and independently on winter and winter animals for days leading up to the project. Students then collected berries, leaves, moss, and flowers from the school’s Outdoor Learning Center. While foraging for these supplies, students learned which plants and berries stay alive during winter and what characteristics they have that allow them to do so. They also learned which animals eat berries and use moss and leaves for nests.
First grade teacher Katie Grider said, “Each school day we spend as much time as possible outside and finding ways to teach lessons and engage students in hands-on learning outside the four walls of our classroom is key to a deeper understanding of the subject matter.”
Grider added that not only does being outdoors encourage physical activity, fitness, and health, but it also provides a living laboratory for students to explore, experiment, interact and collaborate.
After collecting the items from outdoors, students made ornaments by filling cups with the items and water and allowing them to freeze. The ornaments were then hung on a tree on campus.