When Heathwood 5th graders traveled to Harbison Forest on October 24 for the Wood Magic Forest Fair, they weren't just walking through the woods -- they were watching their science curriculum come to life.
As 5th Grace Science Teacher Susan McRae explained, "Fifth grade science content is environmental science, including resources and the management of resources. The field trip provided information to the students about the sustainable management of forest resources in our state, and the role of forests and forest products in their daily lives. Trees are the number one harvested crop in South Carolina, and the forest industry in the largest manufacturing industry in the State, as it relates to jobs and paid wages."
The Forest Fair was managed and operated by professionals in the forestry industry. Students were able to take part in hands-on activities, and learn about many forest related topics. Topics and activities included the following:
the importance of prescribed burning for communities and habitats,
land use and the importance of recycling paper products,
informational magic show,
how the forest helps control pollution (water, air, sound, light),
products from the forest,
the heath of the forest ecosystem, and its contribution to our recreational and economical needs.
The 5th grade environmental science content includes the structure and purpose of ecosystems, including forests, and the interrelatedness of the systems. Later in the year, students will problem solve environmental issues, and in some cases, these issues concern land use and reclamation.
The field trip also tied into the 5th grade English curriculum. As English Teacher Lynn Cooper explained, "We are currently reading Pocahontas and The Strangers, and this novel is clearly set in a rural, natural environment. Students learned how forests have changed over time, connecting them to the past and early Americans’ experiences with nature."