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Fishing at Vista Elementary School

Teacher Bart Miller helps students practice casting during a fishing lesson at Vista Elementary.

It was a school gymnasium, not a river bank. There wasn't a drop of water in sight.

But students at Vista Elementary School were ready with their rods, lures, nets and other fishing gear.

Soon, they were doing their best to hook realistic-looking fish targets – and they were having a blast doing it.

The fishing unit is new to Vista Elementary this year, part of the National Fishing in Schools Program.

P.E. teacher Bart Miller received a $2,500 grant to cover the "Cast a Lure, Catch a Student" curriculum, equipment and other materials, and he's incorporating the fishing lessons into his P.E. classes for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders.

Students learn the basics of fishing, and also the STEM concepts behind them.

They also learn about environmental stewardship and gain an appreciation for the lifelong leisure sport.

"It really just gives them opportunities – extra opportunities that they may not have had before. And for those kids who may have had the opportunity (to fish) before, it builds on their skills," Miller said. "It's a fun way to learn and I believe it helps with their social-emotional learning as well, and also their confidence."

Students practicing casting at Vista Elementary School.
Teacher Bart Miller holding up a fish target as part of a lesson on fishing at Vista Elementary School.
A student holds up a fish target at Vista Elementary School