Fourth graders at Pineview Elementary School in Reedsburg will now have a sweeter hands-on learning experience.
The School District of Reedsburg unveiled its new sugar house at the Hartje Learning Center, officially opening it with a ribbon cutting ceremony Feb. 27. Associate Principal at Pineview Elementary School Matt Peetz said adding a sugar house is a “really neat extension of the classroom.”
“Our goal with this project is to let them do a lot of the processes that we are able too,” Peetz said.
Peetz said fourth grade students at Pineview Elementary School will be able to participate in the tapping process of sugar and red maple trees, as well as collection of the sap and watch it turn into syrup. There are a total of 180 trees at the facility. He said students will learn different methods of collection, like bracket and bag collection and bucket and pipeline collection methods as well as learning how to test percentage of sugar content in sap.
At the end of collection, students will be able to reap the benefits of their hard work.
“The cool part is the last couple years we’ve had a pancake breakfast with the syrup the kids make,” Peetz said.
Students will learn more than just how to make maple syrup and enjoy a stack of pancakes when collection is over. Peetz said students will use skills from the classroom to apply to the process of maple syrup making like math with ratios in the process sap collection, science with the process photosynthesis and social studies with Wisconsin history.
“Part of the Wisconsin history is the process of making maple syrup from the early Native Americans to the pioneers to how we do it today,” Peetz said.
Peetz said the district has done hands on learning with maple syrup in the past, but it was always a lot of work with bringing equipment and the students would do more watching of the process of maple syrup rather than participate in the process.
Pineview Elementary School Principal Clint Beyer said having a sugar house for students to have a more hands on learning experience was “a dream that’s now come true” to create more well rounded students.
“I used those words because we continue to look for ways to our students to learn by doing and to have a project where we have 215 fourth graders this year that are going to come out and be able to learn by doing the whole process,” Beyer said. “To have a facility at the Hartje Center that can accommodate that project is the reason why we are so excited.”