5th-graders get their hands dirty

It’s good to see kids continuing their science learning in the summer … and actually getting engaged in it to the point where they like it.

Alachua’s outdoor classroom is a labor of love for fifth-grade paraprofessional John Goettel, known affectionately among students and staff as Mr. G.

The outdoor classroom began as a vegetable garden, but with the support of school staff and funding provided by the PTA and the Alachua County Public Schools Foundation, the outdoor classroom has now grown to include a greenhouse, a weather station, bird nesting boxes, a composting center and other features.

“A textbook shows you pictures of how stuff grows, but it’s better when you can come out here and see it and take care of it,” fifth-grader Jacey Cottingham said.

Fellow classmate Marc Navarro echoed similar comments.

“I think I learn more things out here than staying inside and having Mr. G just tell us what happens,” he said.

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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