SCHOOL: E.E. Miller Elementary
GRADE LEVEL: 1st
PROGRAM: Living Lab
INSTRUCTOR: Gabi Goszczynska
Scientist Gabi’s Experience:
As I placed a tiny turtle, red claw scorpion, bearded dragon and a bunch of millepedes onto my cart Tuesday morning, I thought to myself “my job is pretty darn cool.” By the looks on their faces, the first graders at E.E. Miller Elementary seemed to think so too. Their excitement for science was infectious and made the Living Lab program a joy to teach.
E.E. Miller Elementary in Fayetteville is a vibrant school that has its walls covered in hand-painted art and posters of inspirational leaders both of which reflect the diversity of the student population. I specifically noticed a poster dedicated to Columbian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of my favorite writers! In my last class of the day, it was a pleasant surprise to hear all the children speaking fluent Spanish with their teachers, a language I have yet to master. This was an impressive bunch of first graders!
In each class, the the kids came in, quiet yet excited. They loved seeing Lily, the turtle, and they made sure to stay calm so we wouldn’t scare her. I enjoyed teaching the kids about how animals, just like us, only truly need a few essential things to survive. Animals are not that different from us, after all! The program flew by with the kids dissecting owl pellets, practicing recycling, spinning the radiometer, and building their take-home habitat.
My favorite moment of the day came when I was with a few kids and we were waiting for the rest of the class to join us. While we were waiting, I asked the first graders what their favorite animals were. On their lists were cheetahs, koalas, whales, giraffes, gorillas and lions. Oh my, what a wild bunch! It was great to hear their fun facts about these creatures of the earth. You could see their love of animals wide across their grins! That’s probably why their favorite part of the day was petting the bearded dragon.
As I rolled my cart through the parking lot at the end of the day, I saw a glowing first grader leaving school with his habitat in hand explaining excitedly to their parents how he “now had a pet worm! And seeds! And it’s name is Springy! Because it’s so warm outside! And science is super-duper cool!”
Okay, maybe I imagined that very last part, but I could tell he was definitely thinking it in his head! Another successful and satisfying day at E.E. Miller Elementary school.