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Skeptic Won Over

Yvette Scherer, seventh-grade science teacher at Ridgeview Middle School, Gaithersburg, MD, describes herself as a reluctant participant in EBS. Below she tells about here experience with Outbreak!

Since this unit is 'well' underway now, I feel like a 'reformed' or 'converted' teacher!!!!

I sort of went into this 'not that excited', and a little bit skeptical about how much the kids could handle on their own... I am totally sold on Event-Based Science now!!!!

It is amazing to walk into the classroom and see the kids beginning work without being told what to do.. We had a great idea evolve yesterday... we put all the 'patient' names on a circle and the task for each group was to find the 'connections' between them, and draw a line from one to the next... (same bus, same school, etc.). One group thought of color coding their lines to indicate the 'connections' (red line = central high, etc.). It was great! From this circle - web it was obvious that Timothy Bellows had the most contacts... my kids are all convinced that he started the outbreak...however, they also are reminded that just one other person could be the source who gave it to him... an so on.

One student wouldn't let the 5 'unconnected' community members go so easily... he felt Bill Neighbors (retired gardener) needed to be questioned further about his whereabouts during the day! These 'characters' are becoming too real for us!---We call them by first names now! I hope my students don't take it too badly when they find out the seriousness of the illnesses some of them have!

Tomorrow well get into the lab reports. By the way... many of the groups came up with the idea of putting the patient info on cards.. but a few cautious ones want to 'back up' the files in their journals, just in case something happens to the cards!

Everyday we work on Outbreak! I feel more amazed at how reluctant I was to start this... I was a traditional biology major in college, did some biochemistry research, am very interested in CONTENT and the PROCESS of science.. but I couldn't quite imagine how EBS would work. It SEEMED so unstructured!

But this is great... I come in everyday and the kids are so excited.. Today they were disappointed that Tim Bellows only has a low hemoglobin count. Anyway, my colleague Michelle used the unit last year and to tell you the truth, when I saw her kids coloring and pasting, making posters... I thought... 'How UNSCIENTIFIC' But now I see the importance of such team building activities. I worked in an NIH lab this past summer and I learned the meaning of a good beginning. Kids need time to think about what's coming next.. we tend to rush them through so much!

Yvette

 

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Last updated on Friday, March 16, 2007
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