ARMA — Northeast School District students were able to take a “field trip” to the Grand Canyon and in a separate trip they went back into time during the Great Depression.

This was made possible with Google Expedition, a virtual reality tool which third through eighth grade teachers in the district have been using to give their students a look around the world and through time.

All that students have to do is slap on the goggles and the teacher selects the virtual field trip.

According to NEJH Principal Terry Cleland said the students were afforded the opportunity through a Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas grant. CFSEKS is a charitable foundation which awards grants through its funds.
“It all happened because of them, we had a little bit of money to go with it, they helped us fulfill that purchase price so we could purchase them and use it this year,” Cleland said.

When the students went to the Grand Canyon, according to Cleland, when looking down it could give a feeling of dizziness just like looking down at the canyon. They also went to the White House where they saw how it was decorated for Christmas and the images of each president.
“It broadens their horizons of different places,” Cleland said.

Students could also go under the sea, where they can see fish go past their goggles.

In history class the students “visited” Native Americans and in English class the students went back to the Great Depression where they saw how people at the time lived.
“They could see their subjects come to life,” Cleland said.

Cleland said the students ask to go on virtual field trips often.

Through a second grant, the district was able to purchase flexible seating at NEJH.
Cleland said the seating is more relaxed than traditional desks and chairs lined straight in a row.
“It takes some of the stress off students and it gives them a different option,” she said.

The district’s elementary school received a similar grant a couple years ago and the junior high students inquired if they too could have flexible seating in their classrooms.

From the grant they were able to get rid of desks and move to tables. The district also purchased several different seating options, such as bean bags and yoga balls, which are a hit with the students, Cleland said.
“It’s a relaxed atmosphere making it better for them to learn,” Cleland said. “We didn't see as many office referrals this year.”

Cleland said she wants to thank the foundation for making the school year a success for her students.
“They’ve been very helpful with their generosity,” Cleland said. “We couldn’t have done it without them, I look for future ventures that we join forces.”