7th Graders Take Science Outside

By: Alex Denis Email
By: Alex Denis Email

Two-hundred Okaloosa County 7th graders got the chance to take science class outdoors thanks to a new program called "Life".

The Department of Environmental Protection launched the concept to give students a hands-on experience with nature.

The outside learning lab was a huge success.

It was a perfect day for these seventh grade science students to experience nature at its fullest.

The Department of Environmental Protection's new "Learning in Florida's Environment" program gave 200 Destin and Richbourg Middle School students the chance to experience science in action at the Rocky Bayou State Park.

Program organizer Greg Ira says, “the environment is such a really unique opportunity for students to take science concepts that they see in the book and actually see them first hand and not only see them integrate them."

Students measured wave frequency, examined sand samples, and observed different species of plants.

Some eager learners said they couldn't wait to get their hands on the real deal.

Alexis Pickos, another 7th grader, says, "You get to do more than just read textbooks and have faucet water for like experiments we get to use real brackish water."

"This is the first of two outdoor field experiences. Student will come back out in the spring to finish up their outdoor studies."

DEP employees work with teachers to create outdoor activities that match the lessons students have read in their textbooks.

Life program organizers say these kinds of science labs actually help students apply learning to life.

“There's a lot of evidence that shows that if students find that the things they are studying are relevant to their lives that they'll be more motivated and interested to participate in that learning."

Students agree.

Matt wise, a 7th grader, says, "It makes is easier to learn and it's more fun and it's an activity you get to do."

DEP hopes to start other "Life" programs throughout Northwest Florida.

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