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Eighth-graders Teach Second-graders Lessons in Science

Eighth-graders at Horizon Middle School were paired with second-graders from Springs Ranch Elementary School and Evans International Elementary School during the “Biosphere 3” field trip May 5 at HMS.  The field trip’s purpose was to present various components of science to the younger students. Activities included a chemistry “magic show”, building an infrastructure for a biosphere, and refracting sunlight to generate heat. The eighth-graders lead the activities and lessons, which rotated between classrooms. They had the opportunity to mentor the younger students, teaching them about colonization of a different infrastructure needed to support life.

“I can’t express how great it was to see the camaraderie between the eighth-graders and the second-graders,” said Crystal Pecic, second grade teacher at Evans International Elementary School.  “The second-graders felt guided and supported through the whole experience.”

Eighth-grader Alexandra Minor was not expecting the high level of interest the second-graders displayed. “The kids we’re really energetic,” she said.  Alexandra explained that showing younger students what the eighth-graders have been learning all year was “more meaningful” than just explaining it to her classmates.

“I love it so much,” said eighth-grader Hailee Duke about her experience as a mentor. Hailee “learned a different way to phrase [concepts]”, explaining that that she needed to use language that the second-graders would understand. She also thanked William Yerger, HMS science teacher, for planning the logistics of the field trip. “He makes everything happen.”

Yerger finds meaning in the reciprocal relationship that happens when an older student mentors a younger student. “It was a great experience for our kids and [the elementary school] kids,” he said. “They both got something out of it.”

The focus of the field trip was the the infrastructure that the eighth grade class has been building to support colony on Mars. “Biosphere 3” goes beyond engineering, and includes the creation of a new government and society. Students have elected a president, congress, senate, created a bill of rights, and now have supreme court judges to preside over upcoming mock trials.

“Everyone was in awe,” said Pecic about the field trip. “It was amazing to see.”

Kayla Maldonado