Fifth-graders in Nikki Darger's class learned about the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and how trials operate last week during a visit to the Curry County Courthouse.

"We've been studying the Constitution and the branches of government specifically, so I thought it would be appropriate to go to the courthouse," Darger said.

During the 90 minute visit with Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Beaman, students were also taught about court-related occupations such as law enforcement and how one needs to first be an attorney to become a judge.

Finally, the 27 students heard about the positive impact courts have on society; students learned that courts settle disputes and strive to treat people fairly.

Students were "really jazzed," eager and interested in what Beaman had to say, Darger said.

"They already had prior knowledge, which made it more real," she said.

The class also attended because Darger wants social studies to be funandndash;not just something that students read about in a textbook.

"Some things you have to learn out of a book, but whenever it's possible to get out and see the real practical setting it makes more sense," she said.

The trip was arranged between Beaman and Darger. Beaman's son is one of Darger's students. After talking, the two thought it would be a good idea.

Now that the door has been opened, Darger, who has been teaching fifth grade for 16 years, hopes to take future classes to the courthouse.

"When kids already have knowledge, it makes it so meaningful to go and see it firsthand," she said. "I think you'll remember it more."