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A natural setting for learning

(BCR photo/Goldie Currie)
The 10 DePue Junior High School students selected to attend the Art and Science in the Woods program in Washburn stand with their teacher Felicia Coster (far left) for a quick photo before they take off for their first day of outdoor classes on Monday morning. Through a partnership with ExxonMobil, the school was able to send students to this unique program, which allows them to experience an art and science lesson in the middle of nature.

DEPUE – Ten DePue Junior High School students are taking their learning skills to the woodlands in Washburn this week for The Sun Foundation’s Art and Science in the Woods (ASIW) program.

Throughout the course of five days, the students will explore environmental education in an outdoor setting and be exposed to artists, engineers, archaeologists and scientists.

DePue Junior High School teacher Felicia Coster is joining the students. She confirmed it’s DePue’s first time participating in ASIW. Students were selected by their efforts in class, grades and following universal expectations of the school such as being respectful, responsible and positive.

“I’m very excited to see what students will learn, and I’m planning on coming back to DePue with many new ideas and lessons,” Coster said. “I believe art is a great subject to integrate with science and plan on doing it next year.”

Coster said when she visited the program last year, students were completely consumed in what they were working on.

“There was no sign of boredom anywhere we went. I think it’s because students are given the choice of what major and minor classes to take,” she said. “I believe students will get more from the experience because it’s something new to them and something they will remember.”

Coster explained the opportunity will also allow students to be responsible for their own learning and possibly determine future career routes.

“I have artistic students who will be attending classes like mural painting and acting, and others who will be engineering rockets and learning recreational outdoor games of the past,” she said.

The students will also get the opportunity to meet fellow students from different parts of the state and educators who are architects, engineers, scientists and artists.

“I’m looking forward to spending time with my students outside the classroom this summer and getting to know them more, especially their interests, and learn how I can develop my own lessons to fit their needs,” she said.

The school was able to fund the trip through a partnership with ExxonMobil.

Barbara Leatherwood-Gomez, public government affairs manager of ExxonMobil Environmental Services, wrote a statement which said ExxonMobil is proud to partner with DePue, especially in the area of STEM education.

“We continue to be impressed with the strides the school is making and are committed to supporting future education efforts,” she said.  

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.


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