by Kristen Lowe
ODESSA - You would probably be surprised if you saw how excited fifth grader Patrick Lucas gets about science class.
"What lab are we doing today?" he asked. "What is it today, Ms. Fitzgerald?"
His excitement is thanks to a new science and math curriculum at ECISD called CSCOPE. It's a pre-packaged curriculum that focuses on engaging the student with projects, instead of reading out of textbooks.
"I mean we haven't touched out textbook at all this year, truly," Patrick said.
Science teacher Natalie Fitzgerald piloted the program with her classes at Milam Elementary this year. She says her students retain more and are more interesting in learning.
"This year when we did tree rings, they actually made their own. They had to tell me how old their tree was and when it was planted. They had to tell me if the tree had experienced the drought," Fitzgerald said. "You could really see if the kids understood it, or if we needed to go back and help the student."
But with a price tag of $1.8 million, some are worried it's an investment the district can't afford to make.
However, ECISD Communications Director Mike Adkins disagrees.
"It's all about students and student success, and equipping our teachers with the tools they need to be successful," Adkins said. "When you look at it from the perspective, it becomes a budget priority."
For teachers like Natalie Fitzgerald, passing her love of science on to her students, is another plus.
When NewsWest 9 asked Patrick if science is his favorite subject, his eyes lit up.
"Yes, Ma'am!" he said.