GSD Enrichment Classes

Grenada School District students regulary learn the state-mandated core curriculum subjects, but they also are exposed to other classes designed to enrich and expand their daily lives andknowledge base.  Classes of this nature are taught at all levels throughout the district.  Two such classes include the Discovery Lab at Grenada Upper Elementary School and Family Dynamics at Grenada High School.

The Discovery Lab at GUES is designed to expand the students’ interest and understanding of science through hands-on scientific exploration and experiments.  Currently, GUES students are studying ocean animals and their habitats during the Discovery Lab’s unit, Under the Sea.  In this unit, students investigate habitats of coral reefs and observe the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.  They study food chains within the ocean and the impact of disturbances to these food chains.  One animal of most interest to the students was the starfish.  Starfish are echinoderms, a phylum of small ocean animals that have spiny skin.  Echinoderms are radially symmetrical animals that are only found in the sea (there are none on land or in fresh water).  Students visiting the lab learned that Echinoderm means “spiny skin" in Greek.   Many, but not all, of the over 6000 species of echinoderms have spiny skin.  Echinoderms usually have five appendages (arms or rays), but there are some exceptions. The students took part in a pre-dissection lab using technology to correctly identify the parts of a starfish.  During this lab, the students prepared for the actual dissection lab by labeling the anatomy of the starfish. The students learned starfish have tube feet and a stomach in the center of their rays, or arms.  Students were amazed to discover that starfish feed through “suspension feeding.”  This means that when eating, the stomach of the starfish comes out of its body and grabs on to its food. That’s a pretty interesting concept to fourth and fifth graders!

During the actual dissection, students worked with a partner at tables set up with all tools needed for a simple dissection of a starfish. Through specimen observation and dissection, students learned basic echinoderm anatomy and gained a better understanding of this invertebrate.  After all students completed the lesson, they gathered on the lab rug to discuss their experience. “Through these hands-on experiences, we hope to encourage our students to look into the areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)”, states Discovery Lab director, Melody Shaw. “The future for our students is in these fields, and our goal in the lab is to expose them to all the great things in the world around them.  From technology to starfish, the future for our students is wide-open!”

In Family Dynamics class at GHS, students learn important skills needed to communicate effectively with the people around us.  The importance of body language and voice tone are stressed.  Domestic violence is addressed in this class.  Lessons from this unit include partner abuse, rape and date rape.  Prevention techniques for these crimes are discussed as well as ways to help family members and friends through these issues. Lessons on bullying and suicide are also included in the Domestic Violence unit.   As they study these problems, students become aware of the warning signs of these dangerous behaviors.  Hopefully, an increase in knowledge about such topics will arm students with the knowledge and tools they need to avoid and prevent these types of behaviors.

Dating and mate selection are also studied in Family Dynamics.  Students and instructor Tonia Bailey discuss how dating helps develop social skills, how we choose the people we date, and what qualities to look for in a mate.  Other topics discussed include child abuse and abstinence.  The Family Dynamics class is designed to provide students with knowledge and skills needed to assimilate into today’s world.

The Grenada School District strives to provide a well-rounded education for our students.  One of the goals of the district is to prepare our students not only for college and careers, but also to help them become successful adults and family members.  Our curriculum is designed to help us meet this goal.
Photo of Stephanie Raper

Stephanie Raper
In the Loop Editor

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