Pomona fifth grade students get outdoor, hands-on classroom experience

Fifth graders at Pomona Elementary School took their learning experiences outside to learn about the dangers of wildfires and land mitigation.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 11:24 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Fifth grade students at Pomona Elementary School got to experience school in a better fashion, which is hands-on experience in the outdoors. It is all part of the school’s Problem-Based Learning project. Students from kindergarten to fifth grade pick a topic they want to do for their project.

During the spring semester of 2022, the topic that fourth graders picked for their PBL project related to droughts. “They were fourth graders and studied drought in western Colorado, which was kind of a nice tie-in to this year’s problem with wildfire because I think they’re making that connection,” said Leah Wrisley, a teacher at Pomona Elementary School.

On Wednesday, the students got to experience hands-on activity in Grand Junction along the No Thoroughfare Trail, where there were three different stations, all of which happened in rotation. Three focused areas included a fire simulation, ecology, and vulnerable population related to wildfires. During the hands-on experience, students do not take any notes but only do after it’s over. “They are not actively taking notes right now because many of the stations are very hands on, and we would like them to be as involved as they can. Actually experiencing the field experience and then when we go back to school we will do a little debrief where they can write down some notes,” said Wrisley.

The whole experience for the students for the wildfire PBL project happened because there was a collaboration with the Grand Junction Fire Department, RiversEdge West, and District 51. Once students work on their projects, they present them using PowerPoint presentations to a group of panelist judges.