Hands-on trip for teachers leads to discoveries for the classroom

Published: Oct. 30, 2017 at 7:06 PM CDT
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"I never thought I would be that interested in bugs, but it’s amazing when you get outside, and actually start turning rocks over and digging through bushes, how exciting it was actually finding a bug," Ashlei Thomas explained.

Ector County ISD teachers went on a hands-on field trip to big bend last week, and are bringing back a new outlook for teaching their students.

Now it's inspiring one Reagan Elementary teacher to take education outside of the classroom.

14 hand-picked ambassadors from ECISD elementary schools went on this multi-day journey to Big Bend National Park.

After returning home, one fourth grade teacher wants her students to experience that same wonder and curiosity by being outside.

"Usually you're trying to shoo it away from you, but this time we were literally chasing bugs," Thomas reflected.

Cross-curricular teachers were exploring outside of the classroom. It's ECISD's PICK education, exploring real world problems in the classroom. Now, Ashlie Thomas wants to expand the classroom outside.

"It gave me motivation and some ideas on how to gather materials and what we want the outdoor classroom to look like,” the 4th grade teacher said. “It means much more to them when they can touch it, see it, feel it, than just reading about it."

Learning from and interacting with world renowned scientist Dr. John Hafernick.

"Research is very important, but it's not the only way, especially a nine-year-old brain is going to assimilate and acquire the information they actually need," she continued.

"They're a part of something bigger than them. It changes the culture and the philosophy in the classroom," said Jason Osborne, the Chief Innovation Officer.

"Everyone gets scared, 'how are you going to test playing?' but that's the way we're going to create lifelong learners, which is what we want our kids to do," Thomas concluded.