"Do you know where you are?"
Science lessons got interactive Friday for a group of Lawrence second-graders.
This fall, students from Lawrence schools are traveling to Baker Wetlands to learn about environmental cycles. The trips are a part of Learning About the Environment Through the Arts, a program designed to provide ecology and arts experiences. The Lied Center of Kansas sponsors the program through a grant from the Kansas Arts Commission.
The sessions start with an artist who teaches the students about the life cycle of dragonflies, followed by a trip to the wetlands. Another session with the artist after the trip is used to create stories about the students' experiences.
"We are bringing in a performance in November by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia," said Anthea Scouffas, the center's education director. "They got the rights to do some of the Eric Carle books. They're coming in with 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,' 'Little Cloud' and 'The Mixed-Up Chameleon.'"
Scouffas said the Baker Wetlands trip was created to tie what students learned at school with the upcoming performance. Educators want students to be able to connect curriculum with a deeper understanding of environment.
"We're talking about the environment in all of these stories that the kids know very well," she said.
Scouffas said the trip is especially important for students who rarely spend time outdoors.
"A lot of kids don't get a chance to come out to a place like this and just walk around and experience nature in a pretty raw form," she said.
A group of students from Schwegler School visited the wetlands on Friday. In a small group, the students rotated through five stations manned by volunteers and learned about insects in the water, plant life, the water cycle and ecosystems.
"We're having fun here," second-grader Alicia Garrett said.
Volunteers said they hope the children will share their experiences with their families and return. Two more groups of second-graders will venture out to the Baker Wetlands this month.