Fifth graders at South Elementary got a taste of the outdoors on a sunny, clear Tuesday morning.
They tried their hand at fishing and shirt dyeing while learning about native Missouri wildlife as part of Outdoor Education Day, an annual JC elementary school event.
At the fishing station, physical education teacher Jared Bisges taught the students how to safely grab their fishing rods and cast them.
“When you get to your fishing rod, what do you catch first? What are you looking for?” He asked.
He showed them how to grasp the hook with one hand and the pole with the other.
“Check your surroundings,” he reminded them as they prepared to launch.
Bisges estimated that about 60% of students had never fished before Outdoor Education Day.
Since only fifth graders attend the outdoor education day, it is something they can look forward to for a long time.
“It’s a lifelong activity that teaches them all kinds of skills, life skills they have that they can use, from patience to learning something they can do outside. and that doesn’t cost very much…how to tie knots, how to handle fish, how to respect the environment, etc. – and then they can come here and have fun,” Bisges said.
The group hadn’t caught any fish so far that morning, but Rob Clark, who had been out with East Elementary students on a colder, rainier day, said the group had caught some. a lot.
Naomi Bryan and Joseph Robinson were among the early anglers on Tuesday.
Joseph had fished before, but this was Naomi’s first time.
She thought the casting was a bit difficult. Although it took some time, many students were able to master the cast by the end of their time at the station.
Naomi and Joseph said they enjoy being outdoors – Joseph playing football and Naomi playing softball.
Both were eager to get to the tie-dye station – there, kids poured blue, purple, green and pink dye onto shirts, spilling colored liquid all over the white plastic tablecloth and turning their hands into Rainbows.
Art teacher Meghan Dudenhoeffer said students love the tie-dye station because they can all take their shirts home and wear them frequently to school.
It’s a messy business, but that’s part of the fun.
“That’s why I don’t bring gloves, because I’m just like, it’ll be fine. It’ll be fine, and a little dirt on your hands never hurt anybody,” Dudenhoeffer said.
There were also stations taught by Missouri Department of Conservation employees on reptiles, mammals, and fish. Students learned what it meant to be “cold-blooded” or “warm-blooded” and which Missouri’s largest and smallest mammals are – elk and shrew.
Bisges said they were able to get the Department of Conservation involved in the event this year, and it really made the event better.
The main goal is just to get kids learning outdoors, Bisges said.
“As a PE teacher, that’s our big thing – getting them off screens,” he said. “Take them off the screens and get them out.”
In the accompanying video, students have fun fishing, dyeing shirts, and learning about native Missouri wildlife.