Monday, October 13, 2014

Hope Street Students Visit Kanza

Hope Street ecology students, led by teacher Miranda Forgey, ventured out into Kanza Education Park’s prairie on Wednesday. This was the fourth time this year that Forgey’s students have had such an opportunity, and the students who went on the field trip had a great time exploring the grassland. With the help of Westar officials, the prairie underwent a controlled burn last spring, followed by a seeding that has brought new life and a variety of colors to what was once a very brown landscape.
Forgey said her students had requested permission to pick the new flowers that now call the grassland home, but in an effort to preserve the new plants, she decided to let them take pictures of the bright blossoms instead. The students were instructed to take pictures of no fewer than five different colors found on the prairie, along with the leaves of the flowers, so that they could identify and research their findings back in the classroom.



This year Forgey's students have also had opportunities to take soil samples and conduct insect identification. And, later this month, the students will perform biomass surveys. According to Forgey, “In this experiment, students toss hula-hoops into plots and cut all of the plant material inside the hoop. They then sort the plant material into bags, separating forbs and grasses. We'll allow the samples to dry over several weeks before we determine the end-of season biomass.”


Student Nona Davis said Wednesday was her fourth time on the prairie this school year. She particularly enjoyed the insect identification project and takes advantage of hands-on opportunities to learn. Nona has plans to pursue additional STEM education beyond high school, as she is hoping to continue her education in automotive technology after she graduates next year.


The students enjoyed the beautiful autumn weather on the Kanza prairie, and they even had the opportunity to incorporate technology into their lesson. Knowledgeable teachers, eager students and unparalleled resources make Topeka Public Schools a great place to be!