Buena Vista University and the Tornado Learning Club have teamed up in the science for the past several weeks to share science experiments.
Dr. Melinda Coogan's Biology 115 class at BVU has been conducting lab activities with the after-school program at the Storm Lake Middle School on Wednesdays; this is the second year that the college students have come in to the middle school science classroom.
Everyone wins in this situation. Most of the BVU students involved in the biology 115 class are education majors; coming to the middle school to present labs helps prepare them for their future teaching careers and helps them get comfortable being up in front of a classroom of kids. And for the middle school students, seeing the enthusiasm of the college students and the variety of experiments they present, may just spark some interest in the young students and lead them to a career in science.
Teams of two from BVU have been preparing and presenting each week for the past eight weeks to those students in the after school program that wished to take part. (There are many other special "classrooms" that the young students have had the opportunity to be a part of.) The young students have enjoyed the variety and never know what the college students will present; all have been hands-on projects.
They have dissected owl pellets, made color spinners and last week learned about convection, quick sand and buoyancy.
"Being a lab instructor in a classroom for a number of LeMars, I know that part of the learning is get past the fear of making mistakes and messes," Coogan said.
The BVU students have been graded on their presentations as well as how well they demonstrated and how well they did at selecting an age-appropriate activity. To complete the course there is a great deal of college work as well.