ELKHART -- Teachers around the country are faced with doing more with less because of tight school budgets, and that includes having little or no funding for field trips. However, an Elkhart science teacher found a way to provide field trips for her students, without even leaving school.
It may not look like it, but these 8th graders never left their school. But they are on a field trip, exploring a cave complex inside Pierre Moran Middle School.
Science teacher Holly Yoder and staffers built the 360-foot long indoor cave maze out of cardboard and duct tape. It includes rock formations, stalactites, animal skulls and running water.
“We are trying to make this as real as we can,” said Yoder. “This is a way for the kids to see what a cave is like, without actually going into a cave. It’s obviously safer than being in a cave and the kids can interact with the cave.”
Right now, the school system does not have the money to take kids on field trips around the area, much less the kind of money that would be needed to visit caves in Southern Indiana. But while building this gives them a good tastes what it’s like out on the outside in the inside. And as you can imagine, many of the students like this more than reading about caves in a book.
“Because we get to see things that we don’t normally see, instead of actually going places, we can stay in school,” said Krystal Gunter, an 8th grader.
Along the way they get to learn about geology, rock formations and life in a cave.
“It’s cool because it’s just kind of like real life, and maybe I will go in a cave one day,” said 8th grader Kyle Schieber.
“It just helps us know what’s in a cave,” said 8th grader Utah Folker. “This is just a little bit of what there would be.”
Teachers and staffers funded the project and put it together with no school funding.