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Cass Lake-Bena Middle School holds Exploratory Day

CASS LAKE -- Students from Cass Lake-Bena Middle School spent Monday both inside and outside the school exploring the "great outdoors" for the schoolwide Exploratory Day.

Whether building birdhouses in a classroom, playing games on the school's front lawn or doing other activities, students in grades 5-8 each had the opportunity to participate in two of the 17 exploratory stations set up for the day.

"They get pretty excited," said Rebecca Sarles, a middle school enrichment teacher who coordinated the event. "It's a pretty relaxing day for the students."

She said the theme of this year's Exploratory Day was "The Great Outdoors."

"We tried to make sure the exploratories fit that in some way, shape or form," Sarles added. "There's a variety of different things the students can do, from cooking to horse care to photo journaling."

At the horse care station behind the school, some students got a close-up look at horses.

"We're talking about general horse care," fifth-grade teacher Jodi Glidden said.

She said the students also learned how to approach horses and read their behavior.

On the other side of the school, eighth-grade teacher Susan Eichstadt led students in a team building exercise for the team building exploratory. At her station, a team of students worked together to walk two long wooden beams around a cone without stepping on the ground. She said the students had to communicate with each other to accomplish the task.

"They're having a good time," Eichstadt said.

Inside the school, other students - including fifth-grader Nick Thieling - spent the morning building birdhouses.

"(I've) never built a birdhouse before," he said.

He said he enjoyed the opportunity to work in groups during the birdhouse exploratory. In the afternoon, he planned to participate in the nature photography exploratory.

"It sounds like a lot of fun," he added.

Down the hall in another classroom, a group of students wrote three-lined poems.

"We're writing haikus," eighth-grader Donnelle Washington explained. "It's like a poem about nature."

Inspired by a selection of nature scenes, the students in the haiku exploratory wrote poems that had five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line and five syllables in the third line.

Fellow eighth-grader Sheela Jourdain added that she enjoyed the opportunity to do some creative writing.

On Monday, students also planted flowers in the flower pots near the school's entrance, made fishing lures, traveled to Knudson Dam to go fishing, barbecued, tried geo caching, made ice cream, arranged flower corsages, did wildlife stamping and played outdoors games including lacrosse.

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