BUENA PARK, CA – Nearly 70 Buena Park School District students worked with snakes and bugs while learning about water conservation, recycling and plants during the District’s Super Saturday GATE event, a day of learning focused on science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).
The District’s long-standing Super Saturday events are held on a bi-annual basis, with one event in the fall and another in spring. Traditionally, Super Saturdays are engineering competitions – giving Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) students the chance to build objects such as rockets or miniature bridges. This year’s Super Saturday, held Nov. 13, focused on building environmental literacy through collaborative learning for water conservation, wildlife, plant life and recycling.
“My favorite part was being able to touch a live snake,” said Cassandra A., a Pendleton Elementary School fifth-grader. “Learning about animals is always fun, but I also really enjoyed being able to learn about other living things like plants. Learning about plants ended up being by favorite part of Super Saturday.”
Emery Elementary School fifth-grader Ellie K. said she was excited to put several water conservation tips she learned at Super Saturday into practice at her home.
Buena Park School District teamed up with the Orange County Department of Education’s (OCDE) “Inside the Outdoors” program to host the event, which was held at Buena Park Middle School with the help of Director of Educational Programs Seri Hwang.
During the event, students visited different stations, where they spoke with OCDE instructors and performed tasks and games such as noticing details about plant life, petting native California bugs and animals and learning how worms can eat food waste to create compost.
Amy Erickson, OCDE field naturalist, said events like Super Saturday are important for students because they provide students with the opportunity to connect with nature and learn about its importance. Erikson said learning outside of the classroom can boost student engagement.
“Super Saturday is one of our District’s most beloved events because it allows our students to explore deeper interests in STEAM learning,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “This year’s topic of environmental literacy is especially important because we want all of our students to do their part in taking care of our planet.”
BUENAPARK_SUPER1: A group of Buena Park School District GATE students investigate plants at Buena Park Middle School’s native habitat garden, to determine interesting facts about native California flora. These students learned about the environment during Super Saturday – a collaborative learning event that focused on water conservation, wildlife, plant life and recycling.
BUENAPARK_SUPER2: Buena Park School District GATE students pet a king snake handled by an Orange County Department of Education “Inside the Outdoors” staff member during the District’s Super Saturday. The event was a collaborative learning day centered on environmental literacy.