Making students the teachers

Science classes come together with local preschoolers to perform experiments


Darcy Leber

Children participate in an experiment using toy racecars and momentum.

On Thursday, Aug. 24 and Friday, Aug. 25, SHS Integrated Chemistry and Physics students hosted a science fair for the PTEC preschoolers at the Cardinal Stadium.

The experiments that were presented focused on teaching preschoolers how to use different tools to find scientific measurements. Each class had about one hour to present their experiments to every group of about 10 preschoolers.

This project was rooted in the goal of teaching SHS science students about scientific measurement and unit conversion. Science teacher Rachel Frantz, the brains behind this operation, believes that teaching measurement requires a more engaging project in order to be done effectively.

“Learning measurements, I hate to say it, is super boring,” Frantz said, “So I wanted a project that could get students excited about what they were learning.”

This is the second time Frantz has done this project with her ICP-Chemistry students. Last semester, she worked with former PTEC Principal, Ann Holtzman, to organize the event, who has since retired.

This year, Frantz spoke over the phone with current PTEC Principal, Anthony Osborne, once a week in order to organize the event, sorting out details of when the students could get together and how long it would take.

“Especially with little kids, structure is helpful,” Frantz said. “ … So he’s been mostly organizing the preschool side and how they’re going to be grouped and I’ve been organizing our side and how we’re going to be grouped and how we’ll rotate.” 

SHS sophomore Ariyah Mitchell is one of Frantz’s ICP-Chemistry students who participated in the project. Mitchell already participates in classes for early childhood education and volunteer work involving preschoolers and kindergarteners, so she believes this opportunity could give her an advantage in that field.

“That kind of helps career wise, learning how to teach (preschoolers) and help them learn different things,” Mitchell said.

Whether it be using beakers or rulers, there’s no question that this semester’s science fair wias a valuable experience for both high school and preschool students alike.

 “Last semester we got a lot of hugs and a lot of high fives, so I’m excited to see the reactions that we get this year.” Frantz said.

Providing an experience that relates to students’ present lives, like in Mitchell’s case, is something that Frantz strives for in this project.

“I think it’s also important for students to see that their learning has value immediately,” Frantz said. “So it’s not in a bunch of years that it matters or that it’s impactful, but what they’re learning right now they can apply and they can change other people’s lives and experiences.”