Foundation Funds Academic Field Trip to Bramlette STEAM Academy

Bramlette STEAM Academy Fifth Graders Visit Sky Ranch with Funding from the Longview ISD Foundation, Inc.
Kay Ray, Longview ISD Executive Director, interviewed the students to learn about their learning experience.
Fifth graders at Bramlette STEAM Academy traveled to Van, Texas, on February 21-22 for an overnight academic field trip through funding from the Longview ISD Foundation’s John W. Harrison, Jr. Academic Field Trip.  Fifth grade teachers Anibal Colon, Rosemary Taylor, and Tashebra Walker, and Nikita Mumphrey, principal, received $7,000 from the Foundation for their grant titled “Sky Ranch:  An Educational Camping Experience.”
On a mission to enhance their classroom science instruction, students boarded buses at 7:30 AM for a quick trip to Sky Ranch.  Upon arrival, they settled into their cabins and then gathered as a group to begin their learning experiences.
After organizing themselves into three groups, students followed their guides through three learning zones over the two-day camping experience. 
In one of the zones, the students enjoyed outdoor play on trampolines and in gaga pits.  Students also played volleyball, dodge ball, and basketball. 
In another zone, students experienced zip lining, flying to and from four treetop towers.  Zip lining was certainly a new experience for almost all the students. 
Students Fatima Najera, Myanjel Cooper, and Camdyn Fortman explained the science instruction students received from their guides. 
Armed with his journal for notetaking, Camdyn enjoyed being out in the woods as he learned about animals, their eating habits, and their natural habitats. He said, “I learned about biotic and abiotic factors that make up the ecosystem.  Biotic are living things, such as plants, animals, and bacteria.  Abiotic are non-living, such as water, soil, and the atmosphere.”  He also learned about the rock cycle and how rain and ice cause rocks to split.   All three students said they learned how friction caused from water, wind, and ice causes rocks to break down.  They also learned about the types of rocks:  sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic. They also learned about petrification, the process that exposure to minerals over a long time causes organic matter to turn into a stony substance.
Camdyn also enjoyed the animal zone where he saw and touched a chinchilla, sugar gliders, a corn snake, and the fastest species of tortoise.  While some students were reluctant to pet some of the animals, Myanjel Cooper said she petted everything. Camdyn pointed out that the chinchilla has so many layers of fur that rain does not penetrate them.  He also saw a blue tongue skink that lives in Australia.  Myanjel added that the skink has a blue tongue that serves as a defense mechanism.  The tongue is not poisonous, but it scares predators.  She also enjoyed seeing a hissing cockroach and a scorpion and learned how the scorpion glows in the dark in the desert.  Fatima Najera admitted she really was not an outdoor person, but she did enjoy all the zones and really learned about the rock cycle and the skulls of different animals.
Myanjel said students learned how they can help preserve the environment by refusing to litter and limiting their use of plastic and recyling it.  Camdyn learned how plastic ultimately travels to the oceans and endangers the marine life.

Camdyn especially enjoyed the zone where students made rockets from paper and duct tape and launched them.  Some rockets exploded immediately while others traveled medium and long ranges as judged by the guides.  Camdyn’s rocket lofted and traveled a few feet; Myanjel’s exploded immediately; Fatima’s traveled far.  Students learned about the physics behind launching a rocket, especially air pressure as measured by pounds per square inch.
All three students agreed that they really enjoyed the Monday night’s camp dinner of pot roast, mashed potatoes, carrots, rolls, cake, apple pie, and peach cobbler.  On Tuesday morning, they feasted on bacon, eggs, yogurt, and fruit before starting their day of learning.  After lunch on Tuesday, the fifth graders headed home, full of science knowledge.

Mr. Colon said that he was proud of the students’ behavior at the camp.  In fact, he said that one of the ranch’s cafeteria employees said the Bramlette fifth graders were one of the best classes he had seen this year.

The Longview ISD Foundation is proud to have raised the funds required for this field trip and appreciates those in the Longview community who support the Foundation so that learning experiences like a trip to Sky Ranch become a reality for students.