Mathews land lab new way to learn

128-acre site of ex-golf course

Photos Special to the Tribune Chronicle

Baker Elementary School sixth-graders Gianna Vlosich, Kacie Simmons and Isabelle Gibson explore the new land lab for Mathews Schools, which includes a small lake on the property.


VIENNA — The Mathews Local School District has opened a new land lab behind the administration building for science classes to do outdoor learning and observations.

The 128-acre site sits on the former Prestwick Golf Course property and includes a meadow, small and large ponds, and wooded areas.

Superintendent Lew Lowery said a renovated house on school property formerly used as a golf course is being used as an indoor learning lab with microscopes, 24 Chrome books, tables, a mini computer lab and other learning equipment.

Lowery said there will be more use of the land lab in the spring for science classes.

“I will get input from the science teachers on what equipment they will need here,” he said.

Many activities will allow for water and soil testing.

Lowery said most of the learning will take place in the outdoor land lab.

The land lab received a Monsanto Growth Rural Education grant from Mark and Sherry Bockleman..

Baker Elementary School sixth-graders were the first to use the land lab, which opened in late October.

Sixth-grade teachers Bethany DelGarbino, science and social studies; Leslie Konerth, math; and Renee Steider, language arts, brought their students Oct. 27 to the land lab utilizing different subject areas.

DelGarbino said  students used GPS equipment at the land lab for learning directions and latitude and longitude. They also did a nature treasure hunt search to explore the land lab and a time capsule writing lesson.

“It was made ready for us to use. The students enjoyed exploring the land lab and finding things,” she said.

After the outdoor activities, students went back to the classroom to record data and observations.

”We look forward to returning here next spring,” DelGarbino said.