The Union Recorder

November 22, 2012

Youth get hands-on earth science experience

Vaishali Patel
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Creekside Elementary School third grade teacher Sheri Thornton and her students came away from Georgia College’s Earth Science Experience last week with a greater knowledge and interest in minerals, fossils, soil and rocks.

“It was great showing and teaching students about fossils, soil and rocks, but it was really great for them to see it first-hand,” Thornton said while students were amazed by the treasures in the GC Natural History Museum and Planetarium. “The children got to pour water through sand, silt and bedrock and predict which would have the water go through it the fastest. I think students will remember this experience.”

“Seeing the fossils was my favorite,” added Elliot Callender, Creekside student. “I didn’t know there could be a single bone from a spine; I knew there were vertebrae, but I thought the spine was one big bone.”

Georgia College biology and environmental science instructor Dr. Christine Mutiti said Earth Science Experience was created by early childhood education majors as interactive lesson plans to get Blandy Hills and Creekside elementary school students fascinated in the fields of study through various activities and games.

“Earth Science Experience is part of my integrated science class. My college students pick a topic, prepare lesson plans and local kids come into campus and do activities. It allows students to get experience beyond the testing and material they learn in the classroom about rocks, fossils and minerals,” Mutiti said. “It’s beneficial for the kids because even though they see some of these materials in pictures and books, they get to actually experience with them hands-on. We have a lot of resources on campus, so it’s easier to get students to experience more things compared to what they may have in their classrooms.”

Georgia College junior Kelsey Oberfeld is majoring in middle grades education with a concentration in social studies. She said working with youth is beneficial for upcoming educators as they gain real-life experience while students get exposure to unique materials.

“Working with kids helps us as teachers because it’s another way to see if teaching is right for you. It’s also refreshing for students because they get a different point of view from a younger generation of teachers,” Oberfeld said while she prepared to begin teaching third-graders about different types of soil and how it’s layered throughout the earth. “The students seem very excited and interested in getting involved. For someone wanting to be a teacher, that’s exciting because they are inspired.”

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