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Some of the youngest students at Stewarts Creek Elementary (SCE) enjoyed an exciting pair of visits thanks to the generosity of LEF donors!

The students, enrolled in LISD’s first “multi-age” program which combines students who would traditionally be in kindergarten and first grade, are researching animals of their choice for a project-based learning (PBL) opportunity. Students are creating digital presentations about their animals, with QR codes to post on the wall, creating a virtual zoo for other students to visit.

The learning came to life with two LEF-funded programs.

IMG_7596First, the Dallas Zoo came to SCE. “Their program was full of information and very engaging! The kids loved getting to pet some of the animals,” SCE K-1 Multiage Teacher Dina Estes said. “It was great for them to see how the zoo personnel taught about the zoo animals. It showed the kids how to present their own animal research.”

A few days later, the Perot Museum arrived with an animal presentation for the class.

“They brought skulls and taxidermy animals,” Estes explained. “The kids made so many connections between the two presentations.”

As a teacher, Estes was excited to see students analyzing and synthesizing the information from each presentation. “They told the Perot representative about a three-banded armadillo, an animal from Dallas Zoo, because Perot brought a nine-banded taxidermy armadillo.”

It was also exciting for Estes and her team of teachers to see students pulling in information from classroom lessons and their own research. “The students were able to explain carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores,” Estes said. “They were also able to see how the teeth in the skull could indicate what type of prey an animal ate.”

The learning opportunities of the visiting programs were far greater than what students get out of a textbook and a great way to augment the lessons offered by the PBL.

“Representatives from both Perot and the Dallas Zoo complimented us on how smart the kids were,” Estes noted proudly. “They also said this was the best group of kids they had presented to!”

The teachers and administration at SCE are proud of their students and appreciative of the programs they were able to make available.

“Thanks LEF” Estes said, “For providing these experiences we wouldn’t been able to provide on our own!”