Friday, October 7, 2011

First Classroom Visit!

Today the undergraduates had their first classroom visit to Rankin Elementary School here in Greensboro, NC. The visit was a huge success!

In Ms. Kanipes' classroom, Charnell and Julalak led the students in a Play-Doh ecosystem activity. Each table group of 5th graders made an ecosystem, complete with volcanos, flowers, and frogs, among other things. Then they sprinkled Kool-Aid drink mix powder on a field in the ecosystem to represent pesticide treatment. Each group "made it rain" on their ecosystem using a spray bottle of water, so that the students could see how rain water carries pesticides in run-off into rivers and streams. Fantastic demo! They also had the students do a card matching vocabulary activity.

In Ms. Crutchfield's classroom, Talibah and Jordan led the students in a role playing game about the effects of pesticides. The students were assigned roles to play: farmer, crop, pesticide, pest, weed, or "good bugs" (like ladybugs and bees). After the farmers watered the crops, the crops grew, but were attacked by pests and weeds. The pesticides were allowed to tap players on the shoulder and make them sit down, but they could also tap the ladybugs and bees! This game led to a very fruitful discussion with the students about the unintended ecological consequences of many pesticides.

In Ms. Lewis' classroom, Bridget, Ronald, and William started by showing a clip from a Captain Planet video about pesticides. Then the A&T group had each 5th grade student start with a cup of water, some of which were contaminated with "pesticide" (acid). The students used droppers to mix the water from their cups, and at the end, they used pH paper to show how contaminated water can spread through the water system without obvious changes to how the water looks. The class also played Pesticide Bingo from the EPA website.

In Ms. Weyant's classroom, Jacquie and Shaylon had the students identify objects and substances that do and do not below in the ecosystem around a river. Candy prizes resulted in lots of lively participation as the students learned about the positive and negative effects of pesticides by answering questions and doing a crossword puzzle. After the presentation, one table group of 5th graders assured me that my students had done a very good job teaching them and proved their point by highlighting all the important things they'd learned about pesticides this afternoon.

Each classroom visit closed with the announcement that the 5th graders would see the NC A&T students again in November when the Rankin elementary students visit our campus. We can't wait for the next event!

1 comment:

  1. This was an awesome experience for all involved! The impact of this entire experience will forever influence the lives of the students in so many ways! Thanks Dr. Kovarik, Dr. Kanipes-Spinks, The Aggies of CHEM 432, SPIRE of UNC Chapel Hill, NCA&TSU, Rankin Elementary and GCS!