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WEST SMITHFIELD STUDENTS CREATE NATURAL SCIENCE MUSEUM

Submitted by Johnston County Schools

Students at West Smithfield Elementary School got a hands-on learning experience after their school hallways were transformed into a natural science museum.

Students created a “Biome Walkthrough,” where each grade level displayed projects and information from a different ecosystem.

“Learning about ecosystems is part of our curriculum,” said fifth grade teacher Brooklyn Farish. “It’s perfect because by the time the students reach fifth grade they’ve had the opportunity to study each of the six ecosystems.”

The students spent a month of in-classroom time learning about their designated ecosystem. Kindergartners study the ocean, first graders study the desert, second graders study the rain forest, third graders study freshwater, fourth graders study the grassland, and fifth graders study the tundra.

On Wednesday, the students toured the school and learned about the biomes they didn’t specifically study in their classes.

“I like it better than being in the classroom because we got to go around to other classes and learn about what all the other kids are learning about,” said Esmerelda Ibarra, a kindergartner in Frances Banks’ class.

Students in each grade level created projects relating to their designated biome. Students created everything from paper mache animals to terrariums. Some third grade students even created their own websites with information about their ecosystem.

“I really liked this project because I felt like it made me smarter,” said Mauricio Alvarez, a first grade student in Amanda Smith’s class. “I want to go to early college and be the smartest man in the world.”

Talitha Crawford, a second grade teacher at West Smithfield, said the students are able to culminate every subject, from math to social studies, in creating their biome projects. “It worked out perfectly to integrate every subject into one theme across every grade level,” said Crawford.

The second grade students also took a field trip to the Museum of Natural Science in Raleigh to get more knowledge about rain forests before presenting their projects.