A science experiment designed to show the process of erosion can get a little messy, so Christina Davis brought her Langford Middle School sixth-graders outside on Dec. 14.
“We are going to use this as a science lab,” Davis said of an enclosed courtyard, which has undergone a transformation in the past 18 months.
Pupils watched as water was poured over sand-covered miniature staircases wrapped in aluminum foil. The water trickled down the incline and fell onto the picnic tables, mimicking the way rain washes sediment ultimately into the sea.
At another table, pupils discussed temperature differences in sand and water, and at another, pupils made Christmas ornaments using fruit and spices as part of a social studies exercise.
The outdoor classroom the sixth-graders used has come a long way since the beginning of the 2010-11 school year.
“There was gravel, and it was not level. We had construction at the school, and this was where they kept the construction equipment,” said Vicki Reese, the Langford principal.
Through a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s Home Improvement, a $350 grant from the Audubon Society, a $200 donation from AFB&T and class fundraisers, the unsightly space has become a peaceful, fenced-in courtyard with grass, rose bushes and picnic tables.
A volunteer labor force including Langford faculty, staff and pupils, as well as Augusta State University students and Fort Gordon soldiers, brought the project together.
School volunteers keep up the space now that it is completed.
“We are the official weeders,” Davis said of her class. “I had to teach them what a weed was. It was really overgrown at the beginning of the (school) year.”
While Davis uses the space as an outdoor science lab, the school principal uses it to have outdoor luncheons for the “students of the month.” Other teachers bring their classes outside for lunch as well.
Davis said she can see even more potential for science classes. She also intends to plant a vegetable garden.
Her pupils like being able to use the courtyard rather than the indoor classroom.
“It’s fun,” said Jacquel Russell.