Penn Biology teacher Mr. John Gensic teamed up with Horizon Elementary’s Mrs. Karin Logan to plan a fun-filled, hands-on, project-based learning, literal “field trip.”
Mr. Gensic brought nearly 100 students from his Early College Academy biology class to help Mrs. Logan’s 2nd grade class plant dwarf fruit trees this morning (Thursday, May 12) in the field behind Horizon Elementary.
The “Giving Trees” project was Mr. Gensic’s idea, for which he applied for and received funding from the P-H-M Education Foundation grant. Gensic, who was recently named P-H-M’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, came up with the idea for students will participate in real world tasks from planting trees to harvesting fruit that will result in an improved local environment that provides educational and edible plants for our community. In Phase One of the project, which the PHMEF grant supports, 25-30 dwarf trees will be planted by elementary and Penn Early College biology students at Horizon Elementary. Initial trees will be planted Spring 2016, with the completion of the planting will be Spring 2017. Today’s activity was the first step in the project.
In Phases 2, 3 and four of the “Giving Trees” project, involve harvesting the fruits from the orchard to serve in P-H-M’s schools. It is also Mr. Gensic’s goal that his Penn students would fulfill orders from the community. The high school students will be putting into action the Indiana Biology Standards 3 (interdependence) and 4 (matter cycles and energy transfer). The elementary students will also be learning and putting into practice Indiana Science and Language Arts Standards.
It is Mr. Gensic’s hope is that this project will provide students, both high school and elementary, the opportunity to identify themselves as “world changers,” leading the charge to positively impact their communities’ health and environment.
Today’s activity also got the attention of the local South Bend media, with Mr. Gensic, Mrs. Logan as well as students.