As I have dropped by classrooms the past few weeks, I have been immersed in a wide array of learning experiences. I am fortunate enough to be able to view these classes from a student’s perspective, observing and sometimes even participating in the fun!
In early November I walked through the S building with the intent of dropping by science classes. I didn’t make it too far when when I spotted chalk on the concrete. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland as I spied the invitation: “This way to the bone practical.” I had no idea what a bone practical was, but I simply had to find out. “Curiouser and curiouser!” I exclaimed…and continued on the path.
I took a few more steps and the words, “You got this” suddenly appeared. What could be next? Just ahead a door was propped open, so I peeked inside.
Paula Bae was just beginning her Human Anatomy class and she beckoned me in to observe. Students stood at the lab stations…if you look closely you will see one girl with a birthday cake hat on her head…candles and all! Had I arrived at a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party? Nope! But the lesson was just as much fun! This bone practical started with Paula prompting students to repeat the rules…which they did in unison! She then said they had thirty seconds to open their bags, pull out their bones, identify them, and answer any questions listed.
Students then rotated through the stations (every 30 seconds!) observing and identifying more and more bones…for a total of 58 in all!
Paula later explained that this activity is one that college students dread. Yet, she was able to create a wonder-filled learning experience for her students that challenged and stretched them.
Many initially viewed the task as impossible. Through her encouragement and invitation to engage in and trust the process, her students succeeded. They emerged from class that day knowing that they can accomplish even the most daunting academic challenges as long as they believe in themselves.
Thank you, Paula, for opening up your classroom and sharing one of your classroom adventures!
What ways do you pique the interests and curiosities of your students prior to a lesson? How do you challenge and empower them to tackle tasks they believe impossible?