From sixth grade to college, a field trip to the future


Extracting DNA, making catapults and mixing condiments, students from Butterfield Elementary School had a taste of college life.

Wednesday morning, four teams of sixth graders toured Central Arizona College with Dean Janice Pratt as professors shared their knowledge.

Master teacher Elizabeth Zimpleman, who planned the second annual outing, said the field trip was especially important for understanding the Promise for the Future, a contract signed by students in eighth grade.

“If they keep a certain grade point average, they are given two years at CAC free,” she said.

The students learned simple recipe techniques in a culinary class. The math interpretive class led to marshmallows being slung across the room from launchers they quickly assembled. In the science lab, they followed instructions for pulling DNA from a strawberry.

“It was really nice,” student Priscilla Ortega said. She was partnering with Abriel Knipmeyer, who added, “We got strawberries, so I don’t see a downside.”

The Butterfield partnership with CAC is part of the school’s STEAM charter focus.

***ADVERTISEMENT***The fourth element of the tour was learning about the contract.

“Last year, we had a few parents who were thinking about traveling outside the district for middle school and after learning about the Promise for the Future made the decision to stay in our district,” Zimpleman said.

Besides enhancing education for the students – and letting sixth graders go to college – Zimpleman said it is an outreach to Maricopa children who travel outside the district for education, bringing them back “with the promise of an excelling education and college future within their own community.”