McLaurin students dig into science

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 4, 2008

NATCHEZ — Armed with shovels and a newly acquired knowledge of natural growing cycles, students at McLaurin Elementary School left the classroom on Thursday to do some gardening.

Teacher Evelyn Geter said she thought her students would benefit from lessons inside the classroom if they could see them applied outside the classroom.

“It’s a hands-on opportunity for them,” she said.

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The students, part of S.O.A.R. — Seminar Option Alternatives and Research, a gifted students program — first cleaned out old flower beds that were planted in front of the school.

Once cleared, the students planted new bulbs and flowers under a fresh layer of pine straw.

Geter said over the coming days all of her students in the S.O.A.R. program, approximately 31, will have a chance to renovate one of several gardened spots in front of the school.

The project is also providing more than an educational experience for the children.

Geter said several parents and grandparents have volunteered time and supplies to the project.

“It’s great to see the community work on something together,” she said. “We try to get everyone involved.”

Mary Toles, grandmother of fourth-grader Kira Toles, said she thought the gardening project was a great experience for students.

Toles said she particularly liked the idea of students learning an idea in class, then again in the garden.

“First you get a theory, then they get to see the application,” she said. “That’s how they learn.”

Toles also said the project was a great way to make younger students more environmentally conscience.

And Toles’ granddaughter, Kira, couldn’t have agreed more.

“You get to study the environment and have fun at the same time,” she said.

Toles said she also enjoyed seeing lessons from the previous weeks in the classroom come to life in front of the school.

“We get to help the school, the environment and our community,” she said.

And while the event was educational and added curb appeal to the school, Charles Harris, a grandfather who volunteered at the school also noted a practical aspect for the children.

“If they can plant a flower they can plant a mustard seed,” he said.