Fourth Grade Students Use Imagination During Trip to Brookings

posted on June 10, 2013
by Gretchen Lees, 4th Grade Teacher 

What could entice 39 students and 11 adults to ride on a school bus all the way across the state of South Dakota? 

The answer – the Children’s Museum in Brookings, South Dakota!  

Last month, the fourth grade classes from Red Cloud and Our Lady of Lourdes made the long trek by bus to experience all the museum has to offer, thanks to generous, continued support from the Larson Family Foundation.

Set up to mimic the design of a town, the Children’s Museum spurs imagination, using rooms to represent a variety of businesses, including a café, a television station, a car repair garage and a grocery store. Children visiting have the chance to pretend they own each business—and imagine new possibilities for their future careers.

Fourth grader Joece explained, “The best part of this trip was the café, because we pretended that we were waitress with aprons. We had to take orders and give out change to people who came into the café. We also had to sweep and wash dishes, but with fake water. If we had real water it would get messy. It felt like we were the managers of the shop.”  

The museum is also home to Mama, the only full-size, permanent, and animatronic   Tyrannosaurus rex in the United States. Mama, who stands behind a low, split rail fence, is about 18 feet tall and a whopping 42 feet long. She is equipped with a motion sensor so when a group of students approaches her she “comes to life” by taking one step, swinging an arm and letting out a deep, ground shaking roar!

Maria, another student, described the experience. “When Mama roars, she’s talking. Mama likes her own space. She does not want people riding on her back.”

In addition to having a small city in the museum, there are also rooms set aside for more exploration—including a music room, an art room and a splash room.  The doorway to the splash room is an invitation, literally bubbling with excitement. Little tiny air bubbles are slowly released into sealed columns of water. Watching the bubbles rise mesmerized the fourth graders—and the bright colors and squeals of excitement coming from children already in the splash room lured them quickly through the doorway.

“The best part of the trip was when we went into the splash room. There was so much cool stuff there. And the main reason I liked it was because you get…wet,” explained fourth grader Henrietta. “The museum was fun and there were so many things to play with there.”

Photos: All Rights Reserved ©Red Cloud Indian School