Third graders in Mrs. Anderson’s class are fully engaged as they learn about magnetic force, while first graders in Mrs. Dawson’s class are just as captivated as they learn about the reflection of light.
In both classrooms at Burnett Elementary School, the Science is Elementary program–which enlists science-savvy staff and volunteers—inspires younger students through interactive, hands-on activities.
“I love the interactiveness of the lessons,” said Mrs. Anderson, who assists the Science is Elementary staff and volunteers as they divide the students up into smaller groups following a whole class lesson.
Science is Elementary comes into kindergarten through 3rd grade classrooms at Burnett, Rose and Sinnott, once a month, bringing along an array of materials and supplies for demonstrations, activities and scientific discovery. Each student has a Science is Elementary folder to record their findings.
“The kids have really enjoyed this program,” said Mrs. Dawson. “The way they set up the lessons is very kid appropriate and definitely connects with what we’ve been teaching.”
Before each visit into the classroom, Science is Elementary sends the teacher a set of slides to teach a pre-lesson to their students. Then, they dig deeper for that day’s session. Afterwards, the teacher receives a follow-up lesson to reinforce the concepts they have learned.
On this particular Friday, lead instructor Genie Njolito dangles a paper clip from a string and asks the students about the different types of forces at play: air pressure, gravity and muscle. She then asks them if it is balanced or unbalanced and additional questions such as “What is a magnet; what objects are attracted and which are not; and how can we move the paper clip without touching it?” They learn that the earth is a giant magnet and that magnets have a north and south pole. During group work, a volunteer helps them move a paper clip along a piece of paper with a magnet underneath.
“When we come in, we want to inspire the kids to ask questions and empower them to do science,” said Jennifer Urmson, Director of In-person Programming for Science is Elementary. “It is a hands-on experience. It’s about exploration and discovery. It’s a lot of fun.”
In Mrs. Dawson’s classroom, students are learning about reflective and translucent materials. In their small work groups, they hold up different reflective materials such as aluminum foil, CDs, spoons and mirrors. With each item, students are asked if they can see their reflection and if one is more reflective than the other.
“It’s so easy for our teachers to implement,” said Burnett Principal Hanna Asrat, who has observed Science is Elementary in action. “The kids are always super excited. It’s a great way for our youngest students to have hands-on science experiences.”
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.