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West Hills students dig for knowledge

By Staff
TOUR Jordan Koch, front, gives a guided tour of an interactive learning cave built by students, showing Brandon Lamora, Karmeran Stringfellow and Deron Wood a group of social bats and stalagmites.Photo by Stacey Hancock/The Meridian Star
By Stacey Hancock/The Meridian Star
Dec. 28, 2000
Gifted students at West Hills Elementary School are studying underground habitats and animals in an interactive learning cave they built themselves.
Four years ago, teacher Amy Driskill decided she and her students would build a cave to present the results of their research to other students at the school.
Driskill said giving tours is a good way for her students to learn how to speak in front of other people and communicate their ideas clearly.
The cave was a collaboration between her classes and students of Bill Odom, head of biology at Mississippi University for Women's School of Math and Science. Driskill saw the interactive cave idea as a way for her students to learn good oral communication skills a school-wide goal.
After discussing the idea with Odom, the two decided to form a team. Odom's students would teach the elementary students what they knew about caves to share with their peers in a creative way.
Driskill then took her students along with the juniors and seniors from The School of Math and Science to the DeSoto caverns where the Math and Science students would teach the second through fifth graders hands-on activities for interactive teaching with their peers.
Throughout the cave, students learn about science, math and geography. Each grade has the opportunity to tour the cave with their peers being the tour guide. With the help of parents and students, the cave was successfully built over a weekend.
Stacey Hancock is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at shancock@themeridianstar.com

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