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CPS Students Participate in STEM Field Experience

by Hannah Shoemaker and Justin Dunham

Students from Chillicothe Primary School moved their classroom to the outdoors to find mini beasts.

"These are our place-based learning experiences, so we call them our 'Muddy Boots and Backpack Expeditions,'" said Heather Tarlton, STEM facilitator at CPS. "We partner with the Ross County Park District, so we can use any of the county parks."

The Muddy Boots field experience took place for first-grade students at Buzzard's Roost Nature Preserve on Tuesday morning.

"Buzzard's Roost has such a diversity of possible field biology experiences," said Tarlton. "We have vernal pool experiences here, pond, creek, woods, so we have a lot of different opportunities for data collection that we do connected to the primary students' STEM studies."

In Tuesday's expedition, the students were given maps and magnifying glasses to get a closer look at mini beasts, like butterflies, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.

"Mini beasts don't have a backbone," said Gatlin, a first-grade student at CPS.

Tarlton said that the students recorded their observations and wrote them down on their maps for data as an introduction to data collection and what it means to be a field scientist.

"They'll take that further when they do scientific drawing back at the school," said Tarlton. "We really just try to integrate all the different subjects and standards into our studies so that that kids are getting a really rich experience."

She said every grade level student at CPS will have the opportunity to go on a place-based experience twice a year.

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