Falmouth Outdoor Learning Project Recognizes Lawrence School teacher, Bob Porto’s Outdoor Lesson for December
Falmouth Outdoor Learning Project Recognizes Lawrence School teacher, Bob Porto’s Outdoor Lesson for December. Mr. Porto is an eighth-grade engineering teacher with over fourteen years of experience
“Railcar Rally” was an interdisciplinary lesson taking place over the course of a few weeks culminating in a rally outside the front of the school. A new project that, Mr. Porto began this year in which students worked in teams to build old fashioned pump trolley type vehicles in their Engineering classes. They spent 3 weeks building both the carts and the accessories and explored a bit of history of Falmouth's railroad industry. This was supplemented by a walk to the bus station to see the relics from the old tracks. It also followed a lesson in Social Studies which was designed to supplement the project by exploring the local uses of the railroad from its construction to decline. “My students loved this lesson because they were able to personally "cause" and observe weathering and erosion, while in an outdoor learning space where they know real weathering and erosion take place.”
When asked what Mr. Porto, enjoyed most about this outdoor lesson, he told us that, “I enjoyed troubleshooting whether the project could be done, and then walking through it with the students. It's always great to get them outside, where they can be seen by a larger audience. Plus, the cold air is a great motivator to move faster! I think kids need a place to showcase their work and see the purpose behind a project. In this case, the purpose was to build the most efficient cart possible to win the fastest time.” The day of the race, teams planned and paired off to complete 4 laps of the bus runway in front of the school. Mr. Porto had to shorten the length due to the winds that day, but overall students worked in pairs to race to the end and back, before trading out with their next teammates, relay style. In the end, the team with the fastest time has their name engraved on a trophy made by one of our students. “I think students appreciated the attention of being in front of the school, recognizing that the project was valued by all their team teachers who supported and participated in the event. It showed that we all recognize that valuable learning occurs outside the confines of our individual classrooms and disciplines. Watching me go through the steps of the engineering process to learn along with them was also of value to them because it made them feel like we were all on a team together. We all troubleshot together as we figured out better ways to improve the carts every day. I was very upfront about the fact that I was learning right along with them. I think that holds a lot of value for the kids to see that we're still learning as well. They still have room to improve in future years, but I was satisfied with the way they worked.” This lesson is available to be shared with interested staff. “I hope to make this an annual project- one of many I do as a culmination of the Engineering trimester. Competition is a great motivator!”
Congratulations to Mr. Porto!
The Outdoor Learning Project, a committee of the Rotary Club of Falmouth, Cape Cod highlights one outdoor learning lesson each month submitted by our local educators that work with Falmouth students. The committee also awards a $100 as a thank you for featuring their outdoor lesson.
Learn more about the Falmouth Outdoor Learning Project at: https://www.falmouthoutdoorlearningproject.com/
Interested educators can submit their lessons here: https://forms.gle/shV6rPwqh8z4AzFY8
If you would like to contribute towards the Lesson Recognition Fund, please visit The Rotary Club of Falmouth, Cape Cod, a 501c3 organization. Select Youth on the Paypal link and outdoor classroom project-outdoor lesson. You can also send a Venmo or mail in a check and be sure to include the same note. Our address is: PO Box 293 Falmouth, MA 02541
Photo Credit: Steve Heaslip photos
Cape Cod Times
The Falmouth Outdoor Learning committee is a project of:
in partnership with:
We will share volunteer updates, supply needs, updates and more!