The classroom is not the only place where learning occurs—it is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are many ways that students learn beyond the walls of the traditional classroom.  Students learn best when they can apply their learning to everyday life.  Vetter School’s 5th graders have had several guest speakers this year and will be participating in an annual math trip, “Money Matters at the Market.” These experiences have helped them make connections and understand the value of the subject matter learned in school.

In November, the students had two guest speakers to help them further understand the effects of pollution and the importance of conservation.  In Science, students learned about the earth’s limited resources as part of an earth science unit. Holly Reynolds from the Freehold Soil Conservation District came to speak with all 5th graders about the importance of protecting our natural environment.  This county agency is responsible for controlling sources of pollution associated with construction, agriculture, and mining.  She used a hands-on watershed model to demonstrate to the students what happens when people do not care for our land and water. At the conclusion of her presentations, all students received gift bags.  

Later in the month, Tom Matulewicz who is a Rutgers Master Gardener, came to speak with each 5th grade class about the benefits of composting.  He discussed the steps to composting and what will happen if we do not do something to protect our environment.  

Mr. Costanzo, our 5th grade Math teacher, has continued to look for real life experiences that benefit the students through authentic learning.  In addition to taking the initiative of inviting the above listed Science guests, he also was responsible for applying for a grant provided by Target.  As a result of this grant, Vetter’s 5th grade math students will have the opportunity to build their financial literacy knowledge and apply their newly learned math skills at the local Wegmans Supermarket.  This March, our 5th graders will be traveling to Wegmans to utilize the shelf tags and math skills in a real world context and complete problem-solving exercises to build their consumer education knowledge. For example, students will subtract decimals to compare the prices of the generic store brand items to similar name brand items.  They also will be determining sales tax by changing percentages into decimals and rounding to the nearest hundredth.  The trip will conclude with a pizza lunch at the Wegmans Cafe.  

Thank you to Mr. Costanzo, Ms. Reynolds, Mr. Matulewicz, and Target for helping to provide experiences that allow our students to see the educational opportunities that surround us every day.