West Marion Elementary G.O.A.L.!

Get Outside And Learn! Program Description

GOAL is a program that allows K-6 students to conduct science experiments, explorations and investigations through environmental and physical science. West Marion Elementary School is located in the Appalachian foothills and surrounded by an ecological environment and offers unique paths to learning.  Students have limited direct experience with the outdoors. The program strives to reverse this trend by introducing students to their natural habitat. Using nature as our primary classroom, the program is designed to help children view themselves as scientists exploring the interdependence and interconnectedness of all living things and the impact humans have on their environment.

GOAL has enhanced student's knowledge of core science materials and helped them develop an understanding of scientific concepts through their own experiences. The program has helped students develop critical thinking skills through inquiry-based lessons in after school clubs and field trips. Students have studied the coastal ecology and mountain ecology by working with environmental scientists and forest rangers.
Outdoor classrooms serve as a learning environment where students study plant and animal life.  Students work in our school’s vegetable garden by planting seeds, tending the garden, and adding plant material to our school’s composting bin. Our butterfly garden provides a natural habitat for learning the life cycles of the monarch and tiger swallowtail butterflies.

Several events are held throughout the year to create more community involvement. A nature “art gallery” walk is held in the winter. Students invite parents to walk the trail and view nature art created by club students. Parents and members of the community hike our school’s nature trail and help make bird feeders with students to help beautify our school.   Students meet once a week from 2:45-415. A career fair is held every February. Students work with CFNC representatives to research a career in the field of math and science. Students dress as their chosen career and discuss their field of work to parents and members of the community. Students in clubs also present information at our school’s earth day celebration held in the spring.

West Marion School has a science lab and full time science instructor. Lab studies are taught to all students on a weekly basis. The science lab houses microscopes, magnifying glasses, field guides, binoculars, and experimental equipment. Students look forward to science lab which connects with classroom learning.

West Marion is also a participant in i3 Laser, Investing in Innovation. The mission is to transform science education in the United States. Major components of Laser i3 include professional development, implementation of a research-based science curriculum, and five years of science supplies for classrooms in grades 1-6th. Students participate in hands on, inquiry based lessons, which require higher order thinking skills.  

For more information contact Renata Crowleyrenata.crawley@mcdowell.k12.nc.us 

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