Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Science Study

Photo of the week: my students and I went on a nature walk this week, and found a killdeer guarding her eggs in the parking lot. She seemed much happier once we moved on!

Also worth noting, this marks my last week of tutoring for now.

By some odd quirk, I ended up with a class of 8th grade students last year. We debated science together, puzzled our brains with logic, and wrote short stories. The students did, at least.

This year, for a bit of a surprise, I ended up tutoring a class of 3rd-4th graders. I mentioned this at least once back in the fall. It's been a big commitment through the year, but it's not really come up as a topic.

Like last year, I was tutoring only one day each week. Nothing grand, nothing profound happened. We memorized a timeline from beginning to end. At least, my students did. I know that Christopher Columbus came after Prince Henry the Navigator, but something might have happened in between them.  I’m also not sure about the history sentences that occasionally float through my head these days. They’re set to music, which makes the forgetting a challenge at times. And, we dissected owl pellets.

Owl what?

Yes, pellets. When I opened the science kit, half my students (mostly the boys) greeted the project with: "Oh…wow!" The other half (all girls, though not all of the girls) replied with: "What?! Oh..."

Owl pellets, at first sight, are two-inch-long, gray, matted objects. Once we picked the outer layer off, we found that owl pellets are actually a mass of miniscule bones and bone fragments. And, by the time we found the second and third mouse skulls, even the most reluctant students were becoming absorbed in the project.

Stories and writing have layers too. There are layers of plot, of conflict, of character emotion, of detail and development I've been observing that more recentlyin between answering questions about rock formations.

Maybe I'll have to write about that concept soon. Even better yet, I'm hoping to apply it to my own short story one of these days. It might make a good summer project, now that class is out...

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