Wednesday, July 20, 2016

STEAM Academy Outing 2015 II: Biology & OK Symbols

Two other portions of the OKAN's Eugene Field Elementary's STEAM academy nature outing curriculum featured biology and Oklahoma symbols. 

Recap of presenters from previous post

Presenters for the "Martin Nature Park Outing" were William "Bill" Diffin, president of the Central Oklahoma Audubon Society; Linda Daxon, Central Oklahoma Beekeepers Association and an OKC realtor;  Paul Olson, Ph.D., plant biologist from the University of Central Oklahoma; his son and assistant Luke; Kim Shaw, Blue Thumb education coordinator, Oklahoma Conservation Department; Kim's intern Ariel McAffrey; Karla Beatty, education coordinator, carbon/soil health program, Oklahoma Conservation Department; and Denise Ebersbach, Edmond community volunteer. Diffin and Daxon were mentioned in the previous post about the birds and bees.

Plant Biology

"Dr. Paul" in true Aristotelian fashion used the peripatetic teaching method. As a plant biologist, subject matter was everywhere--up, down, and all around.  As he was about to begin with one of the rotating groups of students, Luke, his son strikes a pose. 

Dr. Paul remarked later that he would have been successful if he taught them to "Just look up!" So much wonder surrounds us, and we simply don't look or take notice. 

Note the young man on the left is looking up in a manner similar to his instructor's.

Listening to questions

That Dr. Paul Olson, a faculty member of the University of Central Oklahoma, took his time to teach and interact with these students has many effects. Although he volunteered because he is a considerate man and an advocate both of biology and educating younger students, he inadvertently performed higher education outreach. All of the volunteers represented and presented their passions well. Who can conjecture what positive ramifications this outing day may have? 

And off they go!
Oklahoma Symbols

Denise Ebersbach, an Edmond community volunteer, studied the Oklahoma symbols lesson and artifacts from the traveling trunk checked out of the Oklahoma History Museum. If you haven't looked at and used any of the resources available through the center, you should. 

For more information on the Oklahoma Symbols trunk: 

Some touchables included a stuffed bison plush toy, which Ebersbach is holding in the photo; watermelon; a miniature cotton bale wrapped in burlap; rose rock; a twister in a bottle; and much more.

For example, do you know what Oklahoma's meal is?
"Fried Okra, Squash, Cornbread, Barbeque Pork, Biscuits, Sausage & Gravy, Grits, Corn, Strawberries, Chicken Fried Steak, Black-eyed Peas, and Pecan Pie"

Oklahoma's flying mammal is the Mexican Free-tailed Bat, milk is the state drink, and the honeybee is the state insect, watermelon is the state vegetable, and the state musical instrument is a fiddle. Among many other Oklahoma symbols, we have state songs. Did you know that "Faded Love" by John Willis and Bob Wills is Oklahoma's country and western song, and its rock song is "Do You Realize??" by the Flaming Lips? Check out the trunk(s)!

The outing culminated the two-week learning experience. 

OKAN, the Oklahoma Expanded Learning Network, organized the Eugene Field Summer STEAM Academy through a partnership with the City of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Here is the group photo, also published in the first post. These were well-behaved, curious, kind, appreciative students. Bravo to Eugene Field Elementary parents and teachers for a job well done.

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