The ELC Prize Wagon has been on the move since school went to online learning at Greater Atlanta Christian School. Every week, teacher Lisa Chase, the Environmental Learning Center (ELC) specialist, has used her car to deliver prizes to her K4-5th grade students spanning from Braselton to Alpharetta, Atlanta, Peachtree Corners, Norcross and nearly every edge of the 13 counties the school draws its students.
The reason the prizes are so coveted is because winning them doesn’t come easy. Kids have to get dirty, be quietly observant and be extra creative to stand out in the array of “challenges” that Mrs. Chase provides. “We are fortunate to have really involved parents who also want their kids to continue the “hands on experience" that GAC is known for. Our ELC has sparked incredible curiosity about how nature provides for us, and my job has been to continue their desire to learn more. There is a lot of hands on “work” in growing our crops, hydroponics, caring for the chickens and fish. We want our students to get time away from their computer screen and still feel connected to the normal “ELC work” by doing some things in their own backyards. Students have made discoveries in their yards and neighborhoods they never knew existed.”
Digging for worms, finding pill bugs, and locating centipedes was one of the weekly assignments. They were tasked to find where they lived, what they were doing, how big they were, and why they were in different parts of their backyards. The lesson taught the value of these little composters and how they cultivate healthy soil. Their prize was an edible “dirt and worm” kit of chocolate pudding and organic gummy worms along with scratch and sniff book “worms.”
The students have loved the weekly challenges, but it’s especially exciting when Mrs. Chase pulls up with a prize. “I miss these kids and it’s fun to see their faces, even if we are all “masked.” GAC’s Environmental Learning Center is one of the places our kids cannot wait to come back to...and I can't wait for them to be back too! It’s a unique and fun way to teach science, reap the bounty of their labor, and care for the God’s beautiful earth."
Editor’s note: Mrs. Chase delivered 13 bags of kale from the ELC on May 1st to the North Gwinnett Co-Op in Buford, GA.