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The science teacher connects the lessons to what the students like

Tanya Sharp, Ph.D., teaches mixtures and solutions to her eighth grade students at Sandy Springs Middle School. (FCS)

Tanya Sharp, a science teacher at Sandy Springs Middle School, knows that students need to be engaged to close any academic gaps, so she developed a different way to teach her eighth-graders.

“I try to connect everything with the one love of children. They like video games, they like doing hands-on activities, but they also like food,” she said.

Whether it’s new content or old content they should have learned in sixth or seventh grade but the pandemic has gotten in the way, she tries to shape her teaching method around what appeals to them, she said. Now she shares what she’s working with her colleagues, the school’s two other eighth-grade science teachers.

“I think by the end of the year we’re going to make a big impact and these kids will be more than ready for not only high school, but my dream is for them to be ready for advanced learning,” Sharp said. said.

One example of her lesson plan was the topic of mixtures and solutions. A traditional teaching method is to mix different solutions in a graduated cylinder, showing how they separate according to their densities. The insoluble solution is then dropped into the graduated cylinder and the students check to see if it has dissolved.

Before the lesson, she asked the students what they liked to eat. No one liked vegetables, but they were “thumbs up” for the salad, she said. Therefore, in class, she asked the students to prepare salad dressings.

She brought a salad and made croutons, even adding emulsifiers to the lesson – content they don’t usually see until high school. She said it’s a great example of bringing science to a higher level where they can understand it.

The students were able to take their salad dressings home and tell their parents what they did and what they learned in class.

“Parents thought it was really cool because a lot of parents were making their own salad dressings at home and were having trouble figuring out why they didn’t just mix or stay well mixed for a decent amount of time,” she said. “And the kids were able to explain to them what emulsifiers are and how to add emulsifiers” to mix salad dressings.

Salad dressing got an additional use when the lessons moved on to acids, bases, and salts. They studied what acidity leads to the creation of the main salad dressing. They learned how to neutralize salad dressing for salad eaters with acid reflux so the diner doesn’t have heartburn.

Sharp had to adjust her teaching plan when classes started in August because she learned her students were missing the lab skills they should have already learned. The school district provided a curriculum map, but needed to address gaps caused by COVID, especially during virtual distance learning.

“I think virtual science is great for making sure everyone is on the same page, but there’s a lot of value in being hands-on with the equipment and knowing how to light a Bunsen burner,” she said.

Students love to touch and read the equipment, make measurements, and create their own labs.

She convinced her principal, Laurie Woodruff, that her students needed lab coats.

When they put on their lab coats, “they don’t just assume that ‘I can do this, not only can I do this, I can be a scientist, I can be a researcher, I can answer these questions.’ And just this change of attitude is enough to overcome many of their shortcomings,” she said.

Prior to returning to the Fulton County school system, Sharp spent 15 years in the Advanced Placement (AP) program at the College Board, where she administered Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Physics courses and exams around the world.

Students in Tanya Sharp’s classes learn through a hands-on approach using objects they can relate to. (FCS)

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The science teacher connects the lessons to what the students like

Tanya Sharp, Ph.D., teaches mixtures and solutions to her eighth grade students at Sandy Springs Middle School. (FCS)

Tanya Sharp, a science teacher at Sandy Springs Middle School, knows that students need to be engaged to close any academic gaps, so she developed a different way to teach her eighth-graders.

“I try to connect everything with the one love of children. They like video games, they like doing hands-on activities, but they also like food,” she said.

Whether it’s new content or old content they should have learned in sixth or seventh grade but the pandemic has gotten in the way, she tries to shape her teaching method around what appeals to them, she said. Now she shares what she’s working with her colleagues, the school’s two other eighth-grade science teachers.

“I think by the end of the year we’re going to make a big impact and these kids will be more than ready for not only high school, but my dream is for them to be ready for advanced learning,” Sharp said. said.

One example of her lesson plan was the topic of mixtures and solutions. A traditional teaching method is to mix different solutions in a graduated cylinder, showing how they separate according to their densities. The insoluble solution is then dropped into the graduated cylinder and the students check to see if it has dissolved.

Before the lesson, she asked the students what they liked to eat. No one liked vegetables, but they were “thumbs up” for the salad, she said. Therefore, in class, she asked the students to prepare salad dressings.

She brought a salad and made croutons, even adding emulsifiers to the lesson – content they don’t usually see until high school. She said it’s a great example of bringing science to a higher level where they can understand it.

The students were able to take their salad dressings home and tell their parents what they did and what they learned in class.

“Parents thought it was really cool because a lot of parents were making their own salad dressings at home and were having trouble figuring out why they didn’t just mix or stay well mixed for a decent amount of time,” she said. “And the kids were able to explain to them what emulsifiers are and how to add emulsifiers” to mix salad dressings.

Salad dressing got an additional use when the lessons moved on to acids, bases, and salts. They studied what acidity leads to the creation of the main salad dressing. They learned how to neutralize salad dressing for salad eaters with acid reflux so the diner doesn’t have heartburn.

Sharp had to adjust her teaching plan when classes started in August because she learned her students were missing the lab skills they should have already learned. The school district provided a curriculum map, but needed to address gaps caused by COVID, especially during virtual distance learning.

“I think virtual science is great for making sure everyone is on the same page, but there’s a lot of value in being hands-on with the equipment and knowing how to light a Bunsen burner,” she said.

Students love to touch and read the equipment, make measurements, and create their own labs.

She convinced her principal, Laurie Woodruff, that her students needed lab coats.

When they put on their lab coats, “they don’t just assume that ‘I can do this, not only can I do this, I can be a scientist, I can be a researcher, I can answer these questions.’ And just this change of attitude is enough to overcome many of their shortcomings,” she said.

Prior to returning to the Fulton County school system, Sharp spent 15 years in the Advanced Placement (AP) program at the College Board, where she administered Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Physics courses and exams around the world.

Students in Tanya Sharp’s classes learn through a hands-on approach using objects they can relate to. (FCS)

Reported by Source link

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Most Popular