Fifth graders creating a new outdoor learning area are enjoying outdoor adventure and exploration. Already, the studets at Prospect Elementary School havc built a two mile nature trail, and are in the process of establishing 10 learning stations.
According to Principal Angela Davis, “It brings the outdoors to life and extends learning outside the classroom.”
Fifth grade teacher Gregg Hathcock was Blount County’s 2014 teacher of the year for grades 5-8.
“As teachers, we often bring objects from the outside into our classrooms like rocks, plants and insects,” he said. “However, the nature trail gives us the opportunity to experience these objects in their natural habitats.”
The students have learned about soil erosion, tracked animal footprints, observed 4 monarch butterflies emerge from cocoons, and discussed decomposition. They can identify poison ivy, and know the importance of caring for the environment.
Staff began exploring the possibility of creating an environmental education area when the school opened in 2011. The trail was cleared, and a local company donated $7000 worth of rock for the trail. Students continue to work on the area, and the school is looking for a firm to build the classroom and picnic tables.