SCHOOL: Lacy Elementary
PROGRAM: Storm Chasers
I had a day to remember teaching “Storm Chasers” to the fifth graders of Lacy Elementary School. Storm Chasers, is a really fun program learning about lightning, clouds, air pressure, anemometers, thermometers and many other very cool tools meteorologist use. I really enjoy teaching this program because the very first experiment is using a Tesla Coil, which produces little lightning bolts in the classroom! After attaching a plasma ball lightbulb to the Tesla Coil, the kids get a chance to touch and feel the real electricity! It doesn’t hurt the kids but they are always “shocked” when it is their turn to step up and experience it. This always gets the program started with a lot of excitement and fun.
While teaching one class, I had a big distraction that I’ve never had to deal with before. It all started when the kids starting pouring into the classroom…
They were all really excited and trying to find a place to sit that was near all their buddies. As soon as the teacher came into the room, she asked one student to “go over there and sit by Nikolai”. This caught my ear because my full name is Nikolai, and as you can imagine it’s pretty rare for me to meet another one. At first I shrugged it off thinking I miss heard the name and it couldn’t be what I thought it was. A little time passed and I had the class in two groups doing some free exploration experiments. The two groups were experimenting with different tools that meteorologist use to measure a variety of weather events. I was helping out a group of students who were using pipets to fill a rain gauge with water, when again I heard someone say “Nikolai”! In the classroom the kids call me Scientist Niko and so when I heard my full name I quickly looked around for someone who may know me outside of the classroom. The last time I heard my full name in a classroom it was a teacher who was good friends with me and my wife in college. So I was expecting to look up and see someone I knew. After I noticed there was nobody in the classroom that knew my full name, I did a little investigation. I was walking around the classroom trying to find the kid that I share a name with. I finally found him experimenting with an anemometer and I told him we had the same name. I was expecting a big reaction because it is such a rare name, and he was only the third Nikolai I have ever met. I was thinking maybe I am the first person he’s ever met that shares his name? To my surprise, he just looked at me, said “cool”, and walked away. I’m not going to lie, that was the biggest diss a fifth grader has ever given me. haha!