Steeby Elementary fourth-graders didn’t have to travel far to experience a unique, hands-on science lesson, as they had an “in-district” field trip to the new Science & Innovation Center inside Wayland Union High School.
Lynn Gosson, biology teacher, and Karen Gabrielse, chemistry teacher, wanted to give younger students an opportunity to visit the new facility and provide them with science lessons they might not be able to experience in their own classrooms.
“The new Science & Innovation Center at the high school is equipped with state of the art labs and materials not found in elementary classrooms,” said Gosson. “We want to get our younger students excited about science and this facility certainly does that.”
As part of the fourth grade science standards, students learned about the characteristics of fossils and worked in small groups to predict which items they examined were actually fossils. High school science students volunteered after school to help the small groups and answer questions.
The district works with the Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) for science instruction where teachers receive professional development from VAEI to deliver inquiry-based education to students where they are encouraged to act and think like scientists. This type of instruction leads to higher levels of critical thinking, problem solving, engagement and interest on the part of the students.
The Science & Innovation Center opened last September at the beginning of the school year. The 13,200-square-foot facility contains five large classrooms and labs which use the latest technology. The rooms are equipped with digital microscopes, Apple TVs, PC-wall mounted monitors, document cameras, speakers and iPad displays.
Future visits are planned for Steeby Elementary students through the remainder of the school year.
PHOTO: Fourth graders Luke Walker and Marlaina Farmer from Nicole Witt’s class, examine a skull to determine whether it is a fossil during their science lesson at the Science & Innovation Center. (Photo courtesy Laurie Zywiczynski)