Molecule Mike – “Sounds Like Fun”
You can’t predict those purpose-affirming moments that often happen in classrooms. All it takes is one comment or thought-provoking question from a precocious student to remind you that making science fun and increasing science literacy is critical and impactful work.
During a recent in-school field trip for 2nd graders at Evergreen Charter School, a clever and brave student had a fantastic contribution to the program, “Sounds Like Fun”, that made my day and enhanced everyone’s experience. The parking lot was adjacent to the schools’ tree-level ropes course and every adult I spoke to let me know where fresh coffee could be found so I knew this would be a good day!
While breaking down sound as vibrations and how our ears translate vibrations into something our brains understand, I use a tuning fork as a visual/audible aid. A student raised his hand to share an experience he had using a tuning fork. It is always a gamble asking for a student to contribute a related anecdote; relevance is subjective. This young man told our whole group about how doctors had used a tuning fork touched to his forehead to help study his hearing and provide the best hearing device which he received the previous week. How cool! I told him, what a great example of vibrations and the tiny bones that help us hear.
Sometimes being different in school can be tough. I think the experience shared by this student took at least a bit of courage, yet he offered it to help explain an abstract concept to peers and ended up being the star of the day. I appreciated his story so much, I shared it with the next class and anyone else who asked how my day went.
High Touch High Tech programs are great for engaging students’ imaginations with hands-on activities but nothing I prepared could have provided the emotional connection to the material this student shared. Students trust what kids their ages say which makes this a story I’ll use every time I teach “Sounds Like Fun”. Something a 2nd grader taught me. How cool!