The LENS School: Learning and Exploring through Nature and Science
As Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget; Teach me and I will remember; Involve me and I will learn.” It is with this thought in mind that we introduce “LENS” (Learning and Exploring through Nature and Science) as Kearney School District’s Museum School. In August 2019, KSD opened the pilot of this place-based school. This opportunity was open to incoming 3rd and 4th graders for the 2019-2020 school year. Enrollment was based on a lottery system with representation from all four elementary buildings. This school is located in the north wing of Kearney Junior High. Currently there are 44 students enrolled in the LENS school and the district plans to add grade levels in future years.
What is place-based education?
Place-Based Education is defined by the Center for Place-Based Learning and Community Engagement as an immersive learning experience which “places students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, and uses these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum.”
Educators in a place-based educational setting prioritize engagement and authenticity. They know how to leverage local assets including parks, public spaces, museums and businesses to form partnerships. We are beyond excited to announce that among our local partnerships we will be working hand-in-hand with world-renowned paleo-artist Gary Staab of Staab Studios. Mr. Staab recreates models of everything from insects to life-sized dinosaurs. His clients include The National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History and even Disney. If you were fortunate to visit the traveling exhibition at Union Station, which included King Tut’s mummy replica, that was Gary’s work. He has been involved in digging up dinosaur bones and has even been one of the few allowed into King Tut’s tomb. He has truly traveled the world and the thought of him sharing his experiences and expertise with our kids is absolutely amazing. We have met with Gary on numerous occasions, and he is giving us input and ideas for LENS. Gary stated, “I have had the opportunity to work with thousands of kids in the past. It’s fun for me to explain to kids that it’s not just about the sculpting, but it’s more about using artifacts to learn about the world through the lens of history and science.” In addition to partnering with Staab Studios, we are also working with the Missouri Department of Conservation and plan to involve them as one of our valuable resources. We have so many incredible resources in close proximity to LENS which will fit well with our plans and are going to take advantage of those educational opportunities.
Check back soon for enrollment details for the 2020-2021 school year.