106-mile kayak trip helps boost teacher's lesson plan

Kayak trip helps teacher with lesson plans

You may see some people paddling down the Ocmulgee River finding a fun way to cool off from this summer heat.

Normally, paddlers may go down the stream a few miles, but what about 106?

Nicole Butler met up with Monroe County Middle School teacher who took on the challenge to find out how she will be using what she learned out on the water in the classroom.

For Jenny Mitchell, being on the water is nothing new.

So when Mitchell heard about a learning experience that involved 106 miles of kayaking, she dove at the chance.

Mitchell is a math and science teacher at Monroe County Middle School and was one of seven teachers to receive a scholarship for the long journey.

"It really just sparked a new passion in just teaching my students something new. I'm always looking for creative ways to hook them in what I'm trying to teach them every day, and this just gives me more ammunition in the classroom to do that," she says.


But it wasn't all fun and games -- the trip became both physically and mentally hard.

"You tell yourself that it's broken down into smaller increments, which seems really easy to do mentally, but after you are on the water for three or four hours, you have to convince yourself to go four or five more," Mitchell says.

She says the trip really opened her eyes to not only the beauty of Georgia's rivers, but how they are used and often times abused.


While paddling along, Jenny says one of her jobs was to pick up trash. Now she was surprised that the water was so clean she didn't find any common items like water bottles. What she did find was a washing machine.

But cleaning up the waterway was only one of the lessons she learned. She was also taught how to keep the waterway clean by testing the pH and dissolved oxygen in the water. 

Mitchell plans to incorporate everything she's learned into her lesson plans.

"I have a hard time sometimes to get my students to think math is fun, and so I have a lot of new activities in mind that we're going to do throughout the year that's going to get them involved in something that's outdoors, but is also math," she says.


She says her goal is for her students to have fun, and, "We want to come up with ways of giving back to our community and making the environment a better place."

Mitchell says she also plans on bringing Adopt a Stream Club to Monroe Middle where students will find a waterway, adopt it, and keep track of it monthly.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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