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Teachers lesson puts kids on the hunt for learning
Chiciopee Woods Elementary School students Preston Buckley, left, and David Kidd look over a map as part of a hands-on project designed to teach maps and landforms.

Taking a hint from the blockbuster Indiana Jones films - equipped with a bullwhip and safari apparel - Angie Wood thought an adventure theme would be the perfect way to teach her third-grade students about world maps and landforms.

The technology specialist at Chicopee Woods Elementary used props in her classroom and around the school to connect the real world to school life. So, one day not too long ago, students walked into class to see a 21-foot stuffed snake made from a dryer vent hose, treasure maps and even a small airplane. The Indiana Jones theme song played in the background.

"They don't realize how everything goes together, but when you put it to a world connection, they all know about Indiana Jones and they know he had to follow the map," Wood said. "Anything that I can pull in to support what they are doing in the classroom is what I like to do. We have programs where they can work on reading and math, but I like to pull stuff like that and draw their attention and keep their attention."

Wood created a Web page on landforms and maps with the Indiana Jones theme all in preparation for the third-graders' Criterion Referenced Competency Test.

"I pulled from the GPS (Georgia Performance Standard) ... the standards by the state that we are required to teach them in each grade that they are tested on during the CRCT," Wood said. "The third-grade teachers taught them maps and landforms in the fall, and so they wanted me to do something with them as a review before the CRCT."

CRCT testing started last week for some area schools, while others will be taking it this week.

During the monthlong review, students learned about major rivers, mountains, latitude and longitude and points around Georgia.

The Indiana Jones-themed classroom adventure lasted for four weeks in March and ended with the students finding buried treasure on the school's property.

Anna Vibert, a third-grade teacher at Chicopee Woods, said she is thankful for Wood's help with CRCT review.

"One, it's been a great review; like she said, we covered this back in the fall. It made it real for them," Vibert said. "It made it very hands on. ... They actually physically were able to go around and do it and actually have to pay attention."

Vibert's students Alex Henry and David Kidd said they loved the Indiana Jones theme and learned a lot about landforms through interactive computer games.

"I think they (the games) have taught me how to make learning fun," Henry said.

David has been keeping himself busy in technology class by playing an interactive jigsaw puzzle of the United States. He said the game "has really taught me each state."

Karly Tipton, Sarah Durrence and Mason Barnes, all students in Dana Walker's class, said they enjoyed the adventure-themed learning.

Karly said she specifically loved learning about rocks, minerals and landforms, and Sarah said she was excited about the hands-on activities.

"I was happy I got to learn about all the different landforms, and the quest was fun, too," Mason added.

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