LAS VEGAS - As students, many of us have listened to long lectures, highlighted textbooks and written down seemingly never-ending notes, but many educators say one of the best ways to learn is hands-on.
One-hundred and thirty third graders from Gibson Elementary School did just that on a field trip to the Children's Demonstration Garden.
"It helps solidify the lessons, and the textbook is not the way we’re working. It's more co-op learning and collaborative learning and getting hands on and investigating,” said third grade teacher Lina-Maria Tinelle.
Students learned about growing food in the desert, focusing on pollinators, light and conserving water.
One way to teach that lesson was to have a group of kids share a limited amount of water, teaching them how to conserve.
The kids understood, learning who needs water. After the water conservation lesson, students observed pollinators.
"The bees are my favorite part, and bees have many jobs in their life - to pollinate many things… to get food for their hive and to pollinate flowers," said student Joe Byington.
Byington learned bees make a home in Nevada, because many local plants and flowers produce pollen.
Sometimes, it's less about the lesson and more about being in nature. One student says she loved seeing so many butterflies.
"Because they have colorful wings, and they're so friendly," student Stephanie Avila said.
Teachers look for that kind of enthusiasm.
"I just love seeing them light up. I love seeing them being excited to learn and being motivated by it all," Tinelle said.
Those working to teach the children at the Cooperative Extension's Outdoor Education Center and Children's Demonstration Garden say the more students get involved with the lesson, the more they learn and retain, which leads to understanding.
"When they touch, see, experience, they're not just hearing and not just looking at words on a screen. It’s that kinesthetic learning that really brings the info home," said educator Dr. Angela O’Callaghan.
The program represents What’s Cool at School.
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