Johnston-McQueen Elementary School Fifth Graders Visit the Perot Museum in Dallas with Funding from the Longview ISD Foundation, Inc.

Kay Ray, Longview ISD Executive Director, interviewed the students to learn about their learning experience.
On Wednesday, March 29, at 7:30 AM, two charter buses filled with ninety-three excited fifth graders, twenty parents, and twelve faculty members left Johnston McQueen Elementary School for the Perot Museum in Dallas for a day of science exploration to enhance classroom learning. 
The Longview ISD Foundation, Inc., a non-profit education foundation that provides funding for Longview ISD educators through its three grant programs, awarded $4,752.00 through its John W. Harrison, Jr. Academic Field Trip Grant Program to teachers Monique Holleman and Rhonda Small and Christy Scott, principal, for their grant titled “A Science Exploration at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.” 
Mrs. Holleman and Mrs. Small applied for the grant so that their students could visit the Perot Museum to apply science concepts through critical thinking, while focusing on the earth and its changes over time and the history of fossil fuels and energy that led to the development of industry and today’s technology.  

To prepare for the trip, students completed a “Know” and “Want to Know” essay after they researched the exhibits they would see at the Perot Museum.  Students explained what they already knew about the science content and then wrote what they wanted to learn while touring the exhibits.

Fifth graders Serenity Miles, McKynzee Griffin, Kandyce Gubalane, Dawson Joines, Maecyn Brazeal, and Peyton DeGarmo represented all fifth graders as they reported on the trip.
After arriving at the Perot at 10:00 AM, students formed groups of seven and began their learning tour. 

When asked what connection the exhibits had to their classroom learning, Serenity said that she saw real dinosaur and fish fossils that she had studied in class.  Until she saw real fossils, she said it was really hard to completely understand them, but after her visit, she understands much more about fossils and what they tell scientists about life on our planet.   McKynzee said she learned where and how archaeologists had found the fossils and put them together as a whole.  She also learned that fossils continue to be found around the world.  Dawson, who said that the Perot Museum was “the awesomest place on earth,” learned that while he saw a T-Rex dinosaur fossil, no complete T-Rex has been found.  The students were impressed with the size of the dinosaur fossils.
The students especially loved the Being a Human Hall.  In fact, the students said if they could return to the Perot, they would like to spend more time there.  McKynzee loved an exhibit that allowed her to see her veins through her skin. She was impressed with the models of the human brain.  Dawson enjoyed seeing the real-life exhibits of the human body showing all the muscles, bones, and organs.  Maecyn loved the human hall because she wants to be a physical therapist.  Both her parents have had physical therapy, and now Maecyn is interested in it.  She saw all the muscles in the human body and remarked that knowing how our bodies are made and function is important to us all. 

Dawson also liked the sports exhibit.  He tested his reflexes, and through a virtual exhibit, he first raced a cheetah and then Patrick Mahomes, quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs.  Racing Mahomes impressed him as did seeing one of his NFL jerseys.  He also enjoyed the Life Hall where he learned about rare animals.  He would like to become a veterinarian, so learning about different breeds of animals appealed to him.  He was excited about learning about a rare jaguar that is especially hard to find in the wild.  He also made a bird and experienced the flight of a bird in a flight simulator. 

The students also enjoyed the space exhibits.  Kandyce said the exhibit showing our solar system allowed her to really see the planets’ alignment and their relationship to the sun.  The exhibit also showed her how planets rotate.  Instead of just seeing a picture of the solar system in a book, she saw a life size exhibit that made textbook learning real.

Peyton said she learned what it would be like to live through an earthquake in the earthquake simulator.  The simulator allowed her to experience a mild earthquake and then progress to a catastrophic one.  In the tornado simulator, she learned exactly how wind rotates to become a destructive force.  She said she now understands the tornadic threats that East Texas receives. 

Mrs. Small noted that the Perot Museum staff did an outstanding job of organizing the students’ day.  Students loved riding the escalator, something that buildings in Longview don’t have, and they, of course, enjoyed the food court for lunch.  They thought the food, especially the pizza, was delicious and that the value of the lunch was good.  Of course, the trip to the gift shop was exciting.

Mrs. Small said, “The best parts of the trip to me were to see the excitement on the students’ faces as they moved from exhibit to exhibit and see students make connections to what they had learned in class.”  She was impressed with the students’ excellent behavior and attentiveness.  Like the students, Mrs. Small thought the trip was a great experience, even for the teachers and chaperones. 

The Longview ISD Foundation, Inc. is proud to have made this learning experience, one students said they would always remember, happen for the fifth graders at Johnston-McQueen Elementary School.
Thanks to community-wide financial support, the Longview ISD Foundation, Inc. has funded fourteen academic field trips since the program’s inception in November 2018 for a total of $61,733.74.