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GRPS program turns museum into a school | Education

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GRPS program turns museum into a school

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The Grand Rapids Public School System is hoping to create a new school that will have a working carousel, a massive whale, and a planetarium.

The year-long program for 6th, 7th, 8th, and high school students will take place at the Grand Rapids Public Museum in the coming years, if all goes to plan.

This week, students from Grand Rapids Public SchoolS got to spend a week at the Public Museum as part of program called Immer5e.

"we have 6th graders and some 5th graders from Grand Rapids Montessori and they are going to be doing their curriculum for the week here at the museum," explains Wendy Falb, board president for GRPS. "It is not just a visit. It is doing the basics of curriculum of writing, math, and science and doing them in place with direct contact."

Students arrived at the museum excited and spent their first day going through the dinosaur exhibit and on their recess riding the carousel. On day two, the students learned about Michigan's Native Americans, looking and touching actual artifacts.

"Being able to touch and hold an authentic artifact like a fur from our fur trading program that is pretty huge," explains Kate Moore, Marketing director of Grand Rapids Public Museum.

10 teachers and classrooms were selected to be part of week-long program that the school system is using to assess a year-long program for 6th grade students next year. "We are going to learn from this one-week experience to craft a one-year experience for six graders, not unlike our other place -based schools at Blandford and the zoo," explains Falb.

The year-long program which emphasizes hands-on learning is not cheap. This is why the program uses sponsors to supplement the cost. "It is going to take some creativity to figure out how to support a program like this and to support it for all kids," explains Falb.

The plan right now is to have a pilot 6th grade next year, and build on that with 7th, 8th and high school.

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