Youngsters from area elementary schools enjoyed a hands-on learning experience Friday.
Over 300 Killeen area third-, fourth- and fifth-graders from Venable Village Elementary, Peebles Elementary, Clifton Park Elementary and St. Joseph Catholic School converged on the Mayborn Science Theater and Planetarium at Central Texas College for GIS (geographic information systems) Day.
GIS Day is part of the annual Geography Awareness Week, which takes place the third week of November, according to Colen Wilson of the city of Killeen.
For 12 years, Colen organized GIS Day, bringing together area agencies to interact with students about the importance of geography and how many aspects of life relate to geography.
“This year, the theme is ‘Everything About Water,’” Wilson said. As the students rotated through eight different classrooms, or stations, they learned about water shortages, uses of water, the water cycle and water recycling.
Ron Pergl, CTC professor, explained how water can cut through steel to create signs or other objects.
Christine Luciano of Fort Hood’s Directorate of Public Works wore a green wig during her presentation, where she encouraged students to try to break a glass bottle while holding it in the air.
Jason Deckman of the Central Texas Council of Governments helped the youngsters understand where their drinking water originates for the area: Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Lake. The students also had a chance to figure out the best types of geographic data to use when searching for an imaginary lake monster.
Sarah Kelly, fifth-grade social studies teacher at Clifton Park Elementary School, hoped her students would learn to be more aware of what the community is doing. “We’re studying what our local, state and federal government does,” she said. “We want them to be able to support the government in protecting the environment.”