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Subject lines blur for Columbia County middle-schoolers

Students at an Evans middle school combined their language arts assignment with science class for a distinctive STEM event.

In the true spirit of Common Core standards in Evans, Riverside Middle School students applied lessons learned in one area to another subject, while working cooperatively, which will hopefully prepare them for the workplace. Activities at Riverside were based on their language arts assignment, the book “Peak”, which focuses on a boy climbing Mount Everest. The children ran with the topic as they explored every aspect of mountaineering and survival.

Students learned lessons about surviving in the wilderness from Fort Gordon soldiers, such as how to purify water, tie knots, and create emergency flotation devices from clothing. In each instance, science was introduced into the lessons. Working in groups, experiments were conducted to solve Mount Everest-related problems, such as choosing supplies. For instance, one group explored the question of what clothing would provide the most protection from the cold.

The surprising results of the children’s research included discovering that wool is a poor choice, due to the fact that it holds moisture and is heavy. They further determined that a better option would be to dress in insulating layers of clothing, and that waterproofing is important. Other necessities turned out to be gloves, goggles, and sturdy boots equipped with crampons. In addition to the ill advisability of wool clothing, the middle-schoolers were reportedly surprised to find out that despite the frigid temperatures, sunscreen was a necessity as well.

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