For two days nows, some fifth graders at Jeff Davis Elementary have been doing a lot of digging and shoveling. Their goal is to build a 2-foot-deep pond, by applying the skills they've learned in the classroom.
"We learned a lot of math like how deep it's going to be, like the depth, the area, the perimeter," fifth grader Ashleigh Ferrebee said. "That was probably the hardest part in digging the pond."
"When we actually started digging in the pond, the students started measuring the area of the rectangle first, then we discussed how the liner would fit," teacher Brit Lerstein said.
Lerstein said her class has been studying about ponds, and this project is the highlight of the program.
Under the guidance of parent and volunteer, Damon Menendez, the students cover the huge hole with plastic lining. But, they soon discover a problem.
"I think we dug the pond just a little too deep on one end, so the liner won't cover the hole," Lerstein said.
"We went crazy with the digging. We digged out of the outline, so now we have to fill in the hole with dirt to make it smaller," Ashleigh said.
"You saw how we had to go back and fix some things," Damon Menendez said. "That's just part of dealing with it, part of the learning process."
Besides learning how to solve problems, the students also get a lesson on teamwork.
"Yesterday, we started all messy and stuff with the digging. We were just playing around. Then we started to work together and got the job done faster than we thought," fifth grader Max Dubaz said.
It may be tiring work, and it's not quite done yet. But in the end, the pond will be a lasting reminder of the lessons learned. When the pond is finished next week, it will be filled with goldfish, snails, plants and a waterfall. Two grants helped pay for the project, Kiwanis' Biloxi First and Chevron's Community Pride.