NDA students doing water testing in the Richmond Hill area.

Buncombe County Schools students learn through a variety of hands-on outdoor activities, including young scientists at Martin L. Nesbitt Jr. Discovery Academy (NDA). 

Recently both the Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors Earth and Environmental Science classes embarked on a lesson in the Richmond Hills area of Asheville. Their mission was to test the water quality and collect macroinvertebrates for classification. Providing students with this opportunity helps them to apply the content they are learning in the classroom to a real-world scenario.

“When I was in high school, most learning in higher level classes was done through lectures and the occasional lab in science classrooms,” said Biology teacher Nicole Washburn. “At NDA, we encourage collaboration, teamwork, and real life experiences that allow students to apply what they are learning and learn from each other.”

Ms. Washburn said one element that stood out the most to her from the field trip was how active the students were in learning and applying their knowledge from class. 

“ALL my students were in the water, actively engaged, classifying macroinvertebrates, talking to each other and using vocabulary they had learned in class to explain the biodiversity in the creek ecosystem,” she said. “The learning experience was completely different than talking about it in class!”

Martin L. Nesbitt, Jr. Discovery Academy is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) high school with a focus on career and college readiness. Nesbitt Discovery Academy provides a challenging curriculum focused on preparing students for real world problem-solving, developing talent in STEM fields, and leading to industry credentialing and post-secondary credit acquisition. Learn more at mlnda.buncombeschools.org.

**Photo courtesy of NDA**