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 KSD's 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, Kearney's LENS School is a lottery-based choice school with representation from all four elementary buildings. Currently, 66 third- through fifth-graders are enrolled at LENS, and in 2021-2022, KSD will expand the school to additional classrooms.

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. Current students may apply annually for openings within the school. Enrollment information will be posted on our website each spring.

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