Teaching Middle School; A New Experience

Today Nathan Nesbitt and I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting Lexington Middle School. We were guest speakers in Mr. Hall’s 6th grade science class. It was a wonderful experience. Nate and I talked about how we got involved in science, what climate change is, what our research is (sea level rise and solar cells), and how they can get involved in science. The presentation will be posted on a new presentations page I will be making.

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This was our first time teaching 6th grade and I will definitely admit that we didn’t really know what to expect in terms of what they would know and what we would be able to convey. They definitely surpassed our expectations! The kids were right with us every step of the way asking wonderful questions. With the help of Mr. Hall, who worked with us tirelessly throughout the entire day tweaking our presentation to make it as accessible, relevant, and inspiring as possible, I believe we were able to reach a fair amount of students. So many of them were already so well informed, but we really tried to give them perspective about what it’s like doing research and give our own work as two examples. I tried to show them what it was like to metaphorically and literally walk in my shoes (I had one student try walking around in my big boots for walking in a marsh). They got to see the difference between sea ice and glaciers, understand how nano structures on a butterfly’s wing work, handle marsh grass, and see light interacting with nano pillars.

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One of the most inspiring parts of the day for us was their response. During one class Nate asked them how many of them were considering being scientists; 4-6 of around 22 raised their hands. At the end of the class, Nate asked again and at least twice as many students raised their hand!! It was so meaningful for us. We can’t wait to bring the message about climate change and scientific research to as many students as possible!

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Thank you so much to Mr. Hall, Lexington Middle School, and al of the wonderful 6th grade students we met today! We hope to see you again some time soon!


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