Third Grade Early Birds Dissecting Their Worms
With childlike wonder, a few giggles and even some gagging sounds, students from Ms. Bailey’s third grade class at James Elementary School had the opportunity to experience hands-on learning during their science unit to dissect worms.
The hands-on dissection was the culmination of learning all about worms. Students first learned about body parts, including the mouth, pharynx, hearts, clitellum, digestive track and more. They also studied the lifestyle of worms and why they are important in daily life, especially to farmers.
Prior to starting their lab, Ms. Henry, the science lab teacher at James, taught the students about lab safety, careful use of tools and how to best work together with their partners. Working together in teams, one student served as the tool manager and the other as the dissector, each with specific jobs and responsibilities.
“It’s very important to have hands-on experience in science, and not just use videos to teach the curriculum,” Ms. Bailey said. “We want the students to be excited about the possibilities, and this is one way to make that happen.”
Students learned more than just about a worm’s lifestyle and body parts, they learned hand-eye coordination making gentle, shallow cuts to their specimen. Plus, students learned that the tools used as part of the dissection process – probe, forceps, pins, etc. – are not just in science, but an important part of medicine, too.
“We get to dissect the worm and that’s cool,” Dayan Gonzales and Din Lee Dang, dissecting partners, said. “We get to learn where things are and see where their body parts are in person.”
The hands-on curriculum is one way the KCPS curriculum team is working to make learning within the classroom interesting and fun.
“It’s essential that students have these opportunities as early as possible because these experiences will create an authentic sense of engagement that will drive students’ curiosity and their excitement about science,” Elementary Science Curriculum Coordinator Nickalas Collins said. “We want students walking away from these experiences asking: What are we going to learn about next?”
Speaking of what’s next, students will be investigating the effects of increased mass by using marbles, using balloons to learn about static electricity and discovering the polarity of magnets and non-contact forces. Almost makes you want to go back to third grade.