The conservation committee of the Philaco Woman’s Club of Apalachicola has recently received national recognition from the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) for its “First Grade Science Explorers” program which supplied hands-on science kits to the four first grade classes at the Franklin County School during the 2018-19 school year.

Selected by the GFWC as one of the ‘Top Projects’ nationally from entries submitted by state chairmen, the Philaco science eduction project was partially underwritten by a generous grant from Duke Energy.

Duke Energy has recommitted their support for the 2019-20 school year and Philaco is extending the science exploration program to the first grade classes of Katy Sparks and Jenny Mallon at the Apalachicola Bay Charter School.

On the recommendation of the four FCS teachers piloting the program last year - Pamela Hanks, Sarah Messer, Jordan Schaefer, and Jaime Parfitt - Philaco is also adding kits on the study of Force and Motion to the existing areas of study: Birds, Insects, Plants, and Sea Shells. FCS teachers who will be using the kits this year are Hanks, Messer, and Misty Luberto.

Designed to provide a foundation in the scientific process through a fun and interactive learning experience, each kit includes lesson plans developed by early childhood educator Karen Kessel, books purchased in conjunction with Bring Me a Book Franklin, and all equipment needed for hands-on investigation. Each student will receive a science journal for recording their discoveries and observations. The kits will rotate among the first grade classes at each school until all students will have studied this nature-oriented science curriculum.

In addition to Kessel, Philaco club members Liz Sisung, Susan Antekeier, and Liz Perkins have volunteered their efforts in the creation of the “First Grade Science Explorers” program.