Pequot Lakes School Board approves science curriculum

The curriculum focuses on "awe and wonder"

School Board - Knowledge Bowl.jpg
Pequot Lakes School Board members take part in a trivia competition with members of the Pequot Lakes Knowledge Bowl team at the school board meeting Monday, May 15, 2023.
Dan Determan / Echo Journal

PEQUOT LAKES — In its Monday, May 15, meeting, the Pequot Lakes School Board approved the district’s K-12 science curriculum for the future.

Director of Teaching and Learning Travis Raske and sixth-grade science teacher Beth McKenna presented the board with the new curriculum, which places a greater emphasis on “awe and wonder” to engage students.

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“It is anchored in phenomena — getting kids to wonder, then getting them to ask questions and explore the world around them,” Raske said.

McKenna, who piloted this curriculum for the district, said she has seen her students engage in real, scientific discussions while learning the material.

“I have been teaching for 20 years, and I have never seen them think and work so hard,” she said. “Just the way the curriculum is written in itself … We are going to be creating some incredible scientists, and it is really fun to watch.”


Board member Pamela Johnson asked the two to explain why reproduction was listed in the third-grade curriculum, and Raske explained that it does not refer to human reproduction.

“Human reproduction is not appropriate at that level, but exploring baby chicks and tadpoles is highly appropriate,” Raske said. “Learning the life cycle from a seed to a flower is very important … There is a good distinction between seeing that word (reproduction) and recognizing the assessment boundaries.”

We are going to be creating some incredible scientists, and it is really fun to watch.
Beth McKenna, Pequot Lakes Science Teacher

The board also agreed to direct Superintendent Kurt Stumpf to formulate a recommendation for a date, scope, amount, financing and ballot language for a facilities bond election.

“I believe that if the board wants to move forward with this, this is the next step,” Stumpf said.

In other action Monday, the board:

  • Conducted second readings on proposed policy changes regarding student school board representatives, overdose medication and volunteers. The board will conduct three readings of each policy before taking action.
  • Approved donations made to the district.

As a part of its consent agenda, the board approved the retirement of music teacher Andrea Lund, along with the hiring of assistant baseball coach Brett Dale and junior varsity baseball coach Thomas Orsburn.

Early in the meeting, four members of the board took part in a competition against four members of the Pequot Lakes Knowledge Bowl team. The students won the competition 6-1.

Dan Determan, sports writer/staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5879 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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