Nexton Elementary explorers experience hands on learning experience at Patriots Point

History, math, and science lessons come to life as students at Nexton Elementary hit the road to explore educational programs at Patriots Point, and News 2 tagged along.  Nexton is our Cool School of the week.

They’re called the Nexton Explorers, and that’s what they did during a hands on and fun learning experience at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.   More than 60 students from Nexton Elementary, a new school in Summerville visited Patriots Point  as part of its educational program.   Mac Burdette, Patriots Point executive director says, “This is an incredible unique teaching resource.  Where else can  you go to school on an aircraft carrier, very few places in the U.S.,  so it’s a very unique opportunity for South Carolina students particularly from the Lowcountry.”

The program correlates with the state curriculum for third, fifth and eighth grades.   Students are divided into groups and rotate through various interactive stations.  Students examined creatures found in our local environment.   In a mock emergency, faced with the challenge of an oil spill in the Cooper River, the students are tasked with finding the source and location of the spill.

The fifth grade curriculum is based on two books published by Patriots Point Institute of History, Science & Technology.   The books are provided to the schools and the classes spend time working through them before they come to Patriots Point to complete the lessons.  Fifth grade math and science teacher Vicki Cook  says, “It’s a real world connection for the students.  To read about history in a book, but to be surrounded by it.   For them to actually see the different aircraft and hear and be a apart of it,  makes so much more of an impact than just reading and discussing in a classroom.”

The program helps to promote leadership and strengthen problem solving skills. Burdette says, “We combine both math and history together by doing a really interesting program and problem regarding the Jimmy Dolittle raid from 1942 in World War Two, where they they have to calculate the amount of gas the planes would need to travel from the aircraft carriers to Tokyo during World War Two, and whether or not they would make it in configuring weight and things like that.  They learn both history and math at the same time, and it makes it more fun because they’re working on a mystery problem.”

Fifth-grade Student Michaela Danner says, “We learned about estuaries, and we learned about the different Army forces, and we learned about breaking codes and do different things like the Army and Navy had to.  It was really cool because we got to interact with them all, and it wasn’t just them telling us and showing us what it was, we actually got to do it.”

More than 20-thousand students participate in Patriots Point’s education programs each year.

Nexton has over 20 business partners from the area.

Coming up Friday on News 2 Today, we’ll present the Nexton Explorers with our Cool School award.

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