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Middle school builds outdoor classroom

Volunteers gathered May 15 to build an outdoor amphitheater/classroom at Skyview Middle School. Thirty parents, students and teachers pitched in to build the three rows of seating.Sandy Rivera, Skyview Middle School principal, said the amphitheater will seat 70 people and allows teachers the opportunity to schedule outdoor classroom presentations and other school activities. The amphitheater also is available to the community for gatherings and events.Rivera said an outdoor classroom club began meeting weekly starting in January. The group planned the amphitheater and organized eco-friendly fundraisers: selling bulbs, plants and trees.The project cost $5,000. “We were awarded $1,000 from the Falcon Education Foundation, which we used to buy the bricks,” Rivera said. She said they also received a donation of 119 blue spruce saplings that they will plant on school grounds or sell to fund further improvements to the amphitheater.”The amphitheater gives us the chance for multiple classes to come together to share learning and discovery,” said Jen Newberg, Skyview Middle School science teacher. The amphitheater will serve as a place for group discussions and guest speakers as well.Rivera said the outdoor space complements Skyview’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics focus by underscoring the inquiry-based learning process. “It helps students see things in action,” Rivera said. “The students will get hands-on learning opportunities and gain the knowledge themselves.”The amphitheater is the first phase of a much larger outdoor classroom, Newberg said. Walking paths, a science playground featuring simple machines, a greenhouse and a Fibonacci garden are also in the works.Newberg said they are seeking funding for the other projects, and students are involved in designing the various phases of the project.

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