The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to schools including online instruction, emptier classrooms and the cancellation of field trips.

Lexington-Richland Five teachers have come together to create new experiences for students in these difficult times. One of these experiences is bringing field trips into the classroom for students to enjoy.

In celebration of the beginning of fall, Nursery Road Elementary Arts-Magnet (NRES) decided to emulate the hands-on experience of an apple orchard and pumpkin patch at the school for their kindergarten-fifth grade students in the self-contained special education classes.

The in-house field trip consisted of ten stations including, a hay ride, a makeshift pumpkin patch, pumpkin bowling, apple picking and pumpkin decorating.

Special education teacher Diana Martin along with a team of teachers and assistants came up with the idea after a collaborative brainstorming session.

“So much of our learning is community based and we like to have real world activities for the students to do. We typically will take the students out in the community on a field trip to see this learning in action, but because of COVID-19 we had to think outside of the box,” Martin said. “Our students have been learning about apples and apple orchards and the life cycle of apples and pumpkins, so we wanted to do something fun for them outside of the classroom to help bring their learning to life.”

Faculty, staff and parents donated the supplies to bring the in-house field trip to life at Champions Grove.

“We are fortunate to have the Champions Grove because it was the perfect space to build this fun experience for the children,” Martin said. “We tried to incorporate fine and gross motor skills as well as those daily social skills all while we were doing activities outside.”

NRES Principal Love Ligons shared her appreciation for the teachers at the school for their creativity.

“I am always appreciative of the creative and innovative ideas our teachers develop each day to make learning come alive for our Champions," Ligons said. "I celebrate Ms. Martin and the SPED Team who refused to let the limitations of the pandemic keep students from getting hands-on learning during a fall field trip experience. The Fall Festival was a beautiful demonstration of what great things can result from thinking outside of the box when planning student centered learning activities.”

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