Second-graders invade North to study Geosciences

What is in sand? That’s the question these second-graders wanted to answer as they sieved through a pile of sand and looked closer with magnifying glasses. Photos by Jim Bradford

What is in sand? That’s the question these second-graders wanted to answer as they sieved through a pile of sand and looked closer with magnifying glasses. Photos by Jim Bradford

A decade ago, the 21st Century Geosciences program at Olathe North High School began hosting district second-graders as a way to get elementary school students excited about sea life, fossils and dinosaurs. This hands-on field trip has turned into a celebrated tradition.

It started with just a couple of elementary schools coming by for a visit, but now they host visits on 12 days for a total of 24 sessions in a year. During that time, the Geosciences program welcomes roughly 1,500 second-graders to North.

Geosciences students learn presentation skills as they host groups of second-graders throughout the school year. These girls debated whether to touch a large turtle.

Geosciences students learn presentation skills as they host groups of second-graders throughout the school year. These girls debated whether to touch a large turtle.

Program facilitator Angela Epps and the Geosciences students welcome the second-graders eight times throughout the school year. The Geosciences students present six 10-minute activities related to earth science that corresponds to content taught in the second-grade curriculum.

The visiting elementary students get the opportunity to make a cloud in a bottle, sieve sand, dig for fossils, look at the wind, view the triceratops dinosaur display, search for fish in the large saltwater aquariums and hold sea stars and sea urchins in the touch tank.

The visits benefit both the Geosciences students and the elementary students. The second-graders love it and it helps to develop presentation and management skills for the Geosciences students in their area of expertise.

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