Fifth-graders in Rhonda Evanoff's class at Perkett Elementary paired off last Friday and spent time perusing the creatures in every corner of their classroom.
They were assigned to compare the life cycles of two different creatures, such as Evanoff's leopard gecko, Buddy, or her triacic triops or her chicken eggs or her tarantula or her fish. They were instructed to use the scientific method while they observed the creatures, which came from different places. Buddy the Gecko used to belong to one of Evanoff's former students.
Later the students will present their conclusions to the rest of the class.
"Today we're dealing with i-Kids," said Evanoff, who said interactive teaching is more important than ever with a generation of children who have grown up surrounded by technology.
Evanoff has always tried to make her teaching interactive, but she's going to learn more techniques to make her science and mathematics teaching even more exciting at the Phil Mickelson Exxonmobil Teachers Academy for Science and Math this summer in Jersey City, N.J.
Evanoff, a golf fan, has been seeing ads for the academy for years when she watches golf championships. She's always wanted to go to the academy and this year she decided to apply. Evanoff was one of 200 teachers nationwide who were selected to attend the academy. Some 1,500 teachers applied to attend.
In her application, Evanoff talked about a typical science lesson. She teaches her fifth-graders how to use the steps of the scientific method to learn about different species, use laptop computers to conduct research and make presentations. She also talked about what she does if a student just doesn't get it and how it's necessary to go back and retrace some of the steps so a student will better understand.
"I'm very excited," said Evanoff about her all-expense paid trip to the week-long academy.
She anticipates learning more about teaching science and technology and ways to integrate it into her teaching in the classroom.