Kellogsville—Five stations from the new science room at Kelloggsville Central Elementary School, 24 fifth graders were busy getting their hands dirty and making observations as part of a lesson on how the geosphere, the hydrosphere and the atmosphere interact with each other, causing changes in the Earth.
As they made waves, poured water into rivers, created windstorms with hair dryers and more, science teacher Lynnea Roon kept tabs on things, lending a hand here and there, prompting students to verbalize what they were seeing and start a timer on his smart board to move each group to the next station after five minutes.
Later, she talked about the benefits of the new space at Central Elementary and how it is already helping students learn, just a month after it officially opened.
“I’ve always learned and bonded best when I got to try something myself,” she said. “I try to get students to interact with materials or create models of how things work. I love seeing them experiment.
Before moving to Central Elementary, Roon taught from a cart, traveling to three elementary schools in the district to bring science lessons to students.
“Now my new bedroom is absolutely amazing,” she said. “Compared to having things on a cart, my facilities are now more prepared and elaborate. I have access to sinks, fridge for ice, stove for heat. I can set up stations and have gear ready to lay on tables so our time is used efficiently. We have amazing technology and lots of storage. I’m blessed.”
Make connections by understanding things
His young proteges agree.
Eliana Flores smiled behind her mask as she moved the water to make waves and watched the impact on the shore. And her eyes shone as she made a river in a long pan and made predictions about what the water would do to a series of rocks along the way.
“I liked the first one where we made the waves,” she said. “And I learned that when the river got steeper, more rocks came down.”
Another member of his four-person team, Rian Hughes, was a fan of using the hair dryer to move the sand around and watching its impact on a rock in the center of the container.
In doing so, Joseph Dominguez got excited.
“Oh oh!” he exclaimed. “So the sand hits the rock. It crashes into it and in about 100 years the rock will be smaller.
Such observations were exactly why Roon created the exercise.
“I hoped that the students would see how water, in rivers or waves, hitting a shoreline can move sand, how sand can be moved by the wind, and how glaciers change the land,” he said. she declared. “I like giving them things to understand rather than just giving the answers. It creates more connections when they understand things.
“Science is Everything”
That’s why, Roon added, each station — wind, waves, rivers, terrain slope, and types of sand and groundwater — included students recording their observations in response to a series of guiding questions. In future classes, students will do more reflection on what they have seen and felt, including video clips of examples of erosion.
“I’ve always learned best and bonded when I’ve been able to try something out myself. I try to get students to interact with materials or create models of how things work. I love seeing them experiment.
– elementary science teacher Lynnea Roon
Roon, who holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in science education from Aquinas College, said after nearly two decades in Kelloggsville classrooms, his passion for science and for teaching is tireless.
“Science is everything,” she said with a broad smile. “I love sharing how amazing our Earth is and, of course, I love the ‘aha’ moments where students make connections and the excitement when they can experiment.”