Zoom Vroom! Taking eighth grade science to a new level

Zoom Vroom! Taking eighth grade science to a new level

Remote learning has meant that our eighth grade students are not crowded together around a lab station, with Middle School science teachers Darren Fuller or Michael Wong, doing a hands-on activity that demonstrates the energy transfer of circuits or magnetism in action. In a typical year, they'd be applying these lessons to building a small motorized car complete with circuits for LED lights. But this is not a typical year.

As Lab went to remote learning, Fuller and Wong adapted their curriculum into a set of engineering challenges that progressively synthesize learning in practical, everyday ways.

Instead of the specialized part kids might need for their cars, all of these challenges are designed to use common household items to build or do something by hand.

Before they begin the hands-on part of the project, the students first meet in Zoom as a class and then break into

smaller groups to discuss concepts and ideas. During offline times, they watched energy simulations like the ones found here. For one assignment, students created videos using their everyday objects to demonstrate the energy concepts they had been studying.

A byproduct of student's presenting via a video presentations is that quieter voices have the space to shine. "Students have really risen to the challenge," Fuller says. "I get to hear from each and every student in the class." In a regular classroom, he explains, you might ask a question and hear from a handful of students—but not everyone. "With the videos, I get to see and hear each and every student respond to the same question. It keeps me connected to them in a way I never imagined."