Olmstead students learn from teacher's family's river


Posted on October 20, 2018 7:21 PM



 

To study relationships and the flow of matter within ecosystems, the 7th and 8th grade classes at Olmstead School, led by science teacher Addie Rouse, took a trip to the river. This was an annual tradition at the Martha Jo Dawson farm from 2002-2016 when Teresa Haynes taught science at Olmstead. But when she retired, so did the activity.

When Rouse was in 7th grade at Olmstead in 2008, she took part in this field trip. Rouse’s father, Ted Baldwin, became the local creek expert in 2007 with his nephew and attended every trip from 2007-2016.

Fast forward a few years to Rouse’s first year teaching at Olmstead. She decided she wanted to revive the tradition. With the enthusiasm of a new teacher and the support of the middle school teachers who had been on this trip in the past, the trip was brought back. Once again, Baldwin joined the students, who also included Sydney Baldwin, his youngest daughter.

On Sept. 4, Rouse and her students waded the waters of Red River on the Baldwin farm to catch and identify organisms. Math teacher Nathan Powell said, “The creek trip was always my favorite trip of the year. I love getting to see the kids learning and experiencing nature. I think about all of the kids that never get to get out and do that sort of thing. They learn so much and get to have fun just being kids at the same time.”

Students used various nets and containers to catch and release river organisms. Using a field guide, students identified their captures and logged where they found them in the creek. This information was brought back to school the next day where students discussed biodiversity and the various relationships within the creek’s inhabitants.

According to 8th grader Zaeza Williams, “It was a good learning experience, and it was fun because it was something I had never done before on a school trip.”

Through trips like this one, science is revealed in student's everyday surroundings. Many students live on farms or near freshwater ecosystems, but had never thought to identify and look at the relationships between its inhabitants.

“Our everyday life is full of science,” Rouse explains, “and it is my hope that this trip is eye-opening to the potential of the science around us.” 

 




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