One the most exciting units of study in my 5th grade classroom was our insect and butterfly unit. We didn’t just study the body parts and learn about how the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis, we searched in fields around the school for butterfly eggs, then we watched them emerge. We captured butterflies, tagged them, released them and submitted our data for research. One day we even met at the Fort Worth Wild Life Refuge during fall break (yes… on a school holiday) to be interviewed for a news piece. (The video below was captured from an old VHS tape so it is not the best quality.)

I was extremely surprised to get a call one day from the Instructional Technology department asking me if I would like to have an Internet connected Weatherbug weather station in our classroom. I asked what the catch was and what they would expect of me, but did say a resounding, “Yes!” Having a weather station in your classroom certainly makes learning about the weather more interesting. They moved my classroom so many times we finally decided to place it in the library, which gave everyone in the school more access to it. In September of 1996 we were featured on the news. 

One of my most memorable days as a teacher in Birdville ISD was  when we participated in the NASA Downlink, July 11, 1994. The day NASA astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Columbia communicated with elementary students at Richland Elementary and me, Sandra Hines. This culminating activity was the result of 18 months of applying and planning with NASA. We had a week long summer camp and district wide competitions to be one of the students to talk to the astronauts. What an exciting day!

Please excuse the poor quality of the video and sound. It was capture from an old VHS tape.

In 1992, my students and I created an archeology dig on parts of the playground. We found many fun and interesting things like golf balls, shells, eye glasses, small toys, and a dime store ring. After this story hit the papers, a woman called my principal demanding to be given the ring because it was her mother’s lost ring. When my principal told me about the ring and was worried about it, I told her to call her and have her come get the ring. It was simply a child’s play ring. She did not rush over!

Teaching through experience – Archeology
The ring we found.

In January of 1994, my students were given the

opportunity to participate in two environmental studies.

I was very honored to be selected to participate in the first annual Lone Star Dinosaur Institute and learn about paleontology while digging up dinosaur bones! This happened in June 1996. It was put on by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and SMU.