About the LENS School

Learning and Exploring through Nature and Science

In August 2019, Kearney School District introduced LENS (Learning and Exploring through Nature and Science) as our first Museum School, located in the north wing of Kearney Junior High School.

Modeled after other place-based schools, including the Omaha Zoo Academy and Springfield's WOLF School, KSD's LENS School is a lottery-based choice school with representation from all four elementary buildings. LENS was expanded this year and has 133 third- through fifth-graders.

Benjamin Franklin

Tell me and I forget;
Teach me and I will remember;
Involve me and I will learn.

Benjamin Franklin
LENS Student Discovers Fossil in Cave
LENS Student Discovers Fossil in Cave

What is place-based education?

An immersive learning experience which "places students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, and uses these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and other subjects across the curriculum". [source]

How is place-based education different?

Educators in a place-based educational setting prioritize engagement and authenticity. They know how to leverage local assets including parks, public spaces, museums and businesses to form partnerships.

Why do we have LENS?

We know the more engaged children are in their learning the greater the impact. We know that each child learns differently and it is our goal to provide unique learning opportunities to meet the individual needs of all our students. LENS provides another option to traditional classroom learning for students. LENS engages learners in hands-on, inquiry-based learning through the context of nature and science.

How can my child apply?

LENS is designed for KSD third- through fifth-grade students who are interested in science, nature, and project-based learning. Each spring, every second grader is entered into a lottery for enrollment in LENS as third graders starting in the fall. A smaller number of students in third and fourth grade are also selected. Families have the opportunity to opt out of the LENS enrollment lottery.

Who are our partners?

KSD and LENS are proud to partner with local, world-renowned paleo-artist Gary Staab of Staab Studios and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Who is Gary Staab?

Mr. Staab recreates models of everything from insects to life-sized dinosaurs. His clients include the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History and even Disney. If you were fortunate to visit the traveling exhibition at Union Station, which included King Tut’s mummy replica, that was Gary’s work. He has been involved in digging up dinosaur bones and has even been one of the few allowed into King Tut’s tomb.

Our partners

KSD LENS partners with organizations and individuals with a special interest in nature, science, and the arts who can help bring exciting, innovative project-based learning to our students.

Become a Partner