Hands on learning

When I took high school biology, “hands-on” science meant dissecting an earthworm and a frog. I suppose I learned something from the activity – if nothing else, that I could hold a scalpel steady and keep from cutting in the wrong places. But I’m glad to see that our high school’s new biology teacher is taking “hands-on” out of the classroom.

I read in today’s paper about students catching tadpoles in the pond at school (though the idea had been to catch flatworms). This teacher has also given his students the opportunity to volunteer for a program where they work with elementary school students in an after school program, learning about native Iowa plants, ecology, and recycling.

I hear so much at worldmagblog about how terrible public schools are. It’s good to see some positive news, and see how students are not only learning but applying their learning by helping teach others. My older son has, in the past, been involved in programs helping teach music to younger students. And my younger son has benefited from older students who have taught science and – most recently – German language and culture.

I enjoyed being a student when I was in school. For a time I wished that I could go on being a student year after year. But eventually I got tired of just learning and wanted to do something useful for other people. I’m glad the students in our district get to start doing that while they’re still in school.

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