Casting with the Colts

KIds fishing.

Sam Houston Middle School has been the recipient of several GEF grants, but most recently for their Casting with the Colts program.  This innovative program provides students with a unique learning experience.  By partnering with the Science and Physical Education Departments, Sam Houston teachers are able to give instruction to promote a lifelong activity, as well as, provide an aquatic environment field study opportunity. 

In the fall, Sam Houston students spend a week learning various fishing skills, techniques and background information to gain a basic understanding of fishing.  In addition, this program gives students the opportunity to participate in before school, after school, Saturday tutoring programs, and off campus activities to increase academic performance.

“Our program allows students to utilize the environment to perform a scientific field study that is otherwise not available to them in regular classroom.” 
– Chris Ramos, Sam Houston Health & PE 

Teachers in outdoor science lab.

The field study being conducted by the Colts aligns with science Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).  These learning standards are supported within each classroom throughout GISD.  After participating in this program, students’ achievements in science have been proven to increase due to the real-world connections that are made during these field studies.

During the field study, classes have an opportunity to conduct aquatic environment experiments via microscopes to determine whether cells are prokaryotic or eukaryotic.  They then diagram the levels of organization within aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and describe biotic and abiotic parts of an ecosystem in which organisms interact.  As an added bonus, this program meets physical education TEKS by exposing kids to healthy outdoor activities.

“Giving students the opportunity to participate in the environmental field study portion of the class creates real world educational memories.  Seeing the excitement on the students’ faces as they catch their first fish, or the looks of amazement at the microscopic world that has emerged from a sample of pond water can never be attained behind a desk in a classroom.  These life lesson opportunities for the students of Sam Houston Middle School would not be possible without the support from the Garland Education Foundation.”   - Don Hernandez, Sam Houston Principal

Girl fishing

Back in the classroom, students complete a learning log and reflection discussing what they have learned. Sam Houston teachers then spiral knowledge gained during the field study into future in-class lessons.