“The Boonshoft employees have been really good working with our kids and they’re bringing even more excitement to our school in regard to science. They have brought in experiments, activities and live animals,” Principal Dr. Ronnie Harrison said. “I'm hoping that we can eventually have a bunch of scientist aviators (school mascot name) from Emerson at some point in the future. It just seems to be fitting with Dayton being the home of the Wright brothers.”
Since late February and continuing until May 23, Boonshoft Museum staff have brought special programs to scholars at all grade levels. For the older grades, the staff have often held three sessions in a day. The types of programs include topics such as: mineral detection, earth’s changing surface, energy, fossil evidence, matter, attraction action, genetics, robotics, dissection lab, meet the animals, and animal encounter.
“We prefer creating arrangements like this one with Emerson, as it allows for robust programming and repeated interactions with the students,” Courtney Reed, manager of school programs, education, Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, said. “We enjoy building a rapport with the students and teachers so we can build upon preceding content with each visit.”
Reed continues, “Our goal is to enhance every student’s experience by working with their teachers to reinforce what they are learning in the classroom. We can do that in an exclusive way because of our talented team of educators who have degrees and professional experience in a variety of scientific fields. That scientific expertise enhances all our programs. In addition to content specialists, we also have licensed educators on staff to make sure that we are using best practices in teaching.”
A recent experiment with the middle school students had them crushing Oreo cookies, explained Dr. Harrison, to be used to learn about the earth’s surface and erosion. The students crushed the cookie and used that as dirt. They used the icing and ground it up to use as sand.
The question the scholars needed to answer is which would erode faster, the dirt (Oreo cookie) or the sand (icing)? By doing the experiment they were able to find, for the most part, the sand moved more than the dirt.
“I have been teaching many of the programs at Emerson. When we conducted the dissection classes for the sixth-grade students, the participants said they felt like doctors performing surgery,” Reed said. “The teamwork I witness when they comprehend new topics together, and the impact that has on them as a group always sticks with me. That is why I love ongoing partnerships like this one; it gives us the chance to see the life-changing growth in students over time.”
Reed continues, “These programs allow students to experience science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in ways they normally could not in traditional classrooms. I love seeing the excitement on their faces when learning something new or witnessing something amazing. I’ve been working at the Boonshoft for more than 10 years and seeing that joy never gets old for me. Facilitating STEM experiences offers new possibilities for learners, possibly inspiring them in ways that will affect their future.”
The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery began in 1893. Its mission is to create and provide meaningful and entertaining learning experiences for curious minds to engage with natural history, science, and nature while honoring and preserving collections for future generations.
“Getting as much hands-on experience with science as possible is important. Hopefully, the students get to a point where they want to be more involved in science and they see how interesting and fun it can be,” Dr. Harrison said.
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