Sunday, January 26, 2014

Students Teaching Students

What is this?
It's a very special microscope. 

This microscope belongs in the Millville Senior High School Microbiology class of Ms. Elsan Machotka.  Elsan volunteered to work collaboratively with fifth grade teacher Ryan Hudson of Bacon School, one of the elementary schools in the district.  

The fifth graders received a new microscope that they will use in their science class, but they needed some training on how to use the equipment properly.  So, on Thursday, the fifth graders hopped on a bus and traveled to the high school to spend time with the microbiology students.  Teams of 2-3 high school students worked with teams of 2-3 fifth graders.  The microbiology students demonstrated how to prepare a slide to be used on the microscope.  The fifth graders collected cells from the inside of their cheeks and used these to prep a slide.  The high schoolers fired the slides and showed the fifth graders how to stain the slides.  The teams went on to create other slides together.  The slides were marked and stored for the second day of work.

On Friday,  the students came back to the high school.  The teachers were waiting for them, to demonstrate how to use the microscope, how to handle the slides properly, and how to focus on the object or organism to be studied.  The students came prepared to learn and they were truly engaged.  They watched as their high school teachers modeled the skills they would need to know and those teachers were patient and kind.  The fifth grade students were excited but waited their turn and followed directions.  They asked questions.  They were totally focused on the lesson-"the hands-on lesson".  That's the reason fifth grader Brandon was happy to be working with these teachers.  It was hands on, he said.  His partner, Donnell, said it was fun.  Which, if you ask me, is what learning is all about.
Observe and record observations, like real scientists
Learning how to handle the equipment

Student teaching student or Teacher and student

Teachers preparing for lesson
I wanted to highlight this wonderful activity because I was invited to take part.  I was there to take photos and I loved what I saw and heard.  I'll be printing out pictures for both classes and will create a flyer at to share the excitement throughout the district.  I'll use the photos to make an video so the fifth graders will have something to remember the day.  

Cudos to the teachers, Elsan Machotka and Ryan Hudson.  Congrats to their administrators, Dr. Spike Cook, Kathleen Procopio, and Ray Jacobs.  Stars and A+s and pats on the back to the teachers, the microbiology students,  and students, the fifth graders.  Both groups learned invaluable lessons-together!

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