The Champaign County Forest Preserve District and Urbana Park District are partnering to make teachers’ lives just a little bit easier.
Through a $6,500 grant from the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, the CCFPD and UPD are giving away 1,000 science kits for Champaign County students.
Details aren’t finalized but the kits are expected to be offered to second grade classrooms. The organizations will work with educators to determine the contents.
“We’re looking to see what we can best fit for these bags, what we can best provide for what they’re learning right now, a kit to complement that unit,” said Chelsea Prahl, UPD’s environmental educator coordinator.
This will be the second round of kits for the park district and forest preserve district to distribute. The first round of kits went to students in 16 schools across Champaign County and were utilized primarily in the fall.
Those kits used a theme of “Earth’s Features” last time and were distributed to fourth graders.
“We used the Next Generation Science Standards to structure the curriculum,” Prahl said. “(Students) were provided with all the materials they need, down to a pencil. We tried to make it as accessible as possible. Schools didn’t need to provide anything. Some of the things they were provided were Play-Doh to create landforms, container of sand with a ruler and a hole and a cup to mimic erosion, and some observation tools like magnifying glasses with a mock sediment rock that they will be able to break apart, put in water and watch it separate. They were given model clay to create their own fossils. And we also provided them with four different types of rock.”
The kits are translated into Spanish and French, and teachers also receive a packet of instructions.
“(CCFPD) is always excited to partner with Urbana Park District,” Stacey Clementz, the CCFPD’s education program specialist said. “Working together allows us to reach a larger audience across Champaign County.”
The program is aiming, Prahl said, to get the kits distributed in time for use in the spring.