On December 3, the Longview ISD Foundation presented its first annual John W. Harrison, Jr. Academic Field Trip Grant to the fourth and fifth grade teachers at Hudson PEP Elementary School.

Written by Hudson PEP teachers Deanna Kalmus, Alison Campbell, Claire Holdridge, and Constance Massey, the grant titled “If You Really Want to Know, Look in the Perot!” is worth $7,000.  With this funding, Hudson teachers and chaperones will take 236 students to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas in February.

At the Perot, students will engage in hands-on learning in the areas of physical science, life science, and earth and space science.  The museum will expose the students to real world examples of science in ways that cannot be done inside a classroom. 

Students will depart Longview on a Tri-City charter bus at 7:30 am, thus allowing them a full day at the museum.

The Hudson PEP teachers will make certain their students are ready to learn as soon as they arrive at the museum.  While learning physical science, fifth graders have already built catapults, and all fourth and fifth grade students have designed experiments to test the force of an object.  This prior learning will make the museum’s Lego Simply Machines Catapult Challenge Program even more meaningful for the3 students.  Students will also enter the museum with a strong foundation of matter and mixtures and solutions because they have already completed hands-on labs, making density columns and separating mixtures.  The museum’s ABC’s of Chemistry Program will only build on the students’ knowledge. 

In earth science, students will have differentiated between weather and climate, made weather predictions, and modeled the water cycle.  They will also have a strong understanding of the two ways landforms are shaped by the movement of sediments after creating models in class.  These experiences will make both the Air and Weather Program and the Sediments and Soils Program valuable learning experiences at the museum.

In life science, fifth grade students will go on the trip with a strong background in life science while fourth graders will be beginning their life science unit.  The life science programs at the museum will solidify the fifth graders learning while piquing the interest of fourth graders for their upcoming science unit.  At the museum, students will visit the Nature Investigators Program and apply their knowledge of the structures and functions of plants and animals.  They will be fully equipped with the background knowledge they need to get the most from the Adapt to Survive Program at the museum.

The Longview ISD Foundation’s grants committee was impressed with the number of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills that the teachers had linked to the field trip to maximize student learning and with the teaching and student assignments prior to going on the trip.

Hudson PEP science teachers in both grade levels will design a grade-level specific scavenger hunt booklet with points attached for completion as the students learn in nine different areas inside the museum.  Upon returning to their classrooms, students will complete reflection writing to further assess their learning. 

The Longview ISD Foundation, Inc. is proud to have funded this learning opportunity beyond the classroom for these students.