Spreading Science to Second Graders

By Lily Moss

Who would have thought a small field trip to a Coman Hill second grade class in the spring of 2016 would evolve into a full-fledged club known as the Second Grade Club. Recognized by the Authentic Science Research Program at BHHS, the club consists of high school science research students teaching experiments to a class of second graders. By bringing fascinating activities into the classroom, the club wishes to accomplish the goal of broadening the second graders’ creativity and enrich their love of science.

Each visit takes a tremendous amount of preparation. Before visiting, club presidents Alexis Aberman and Ali Brocato and their teacher mentor, David Keith, hold several meetings to brainstorm ideas. Alexis explains that during these meetings, the members “decide on a lesson that will be both fun and educational for the second graders, along with one that pertains to the second grade curriculum.” The members then conduct the experiment multiple times to perfect it. Meanwhile, the students who present in front of the second grade class practice explaining the lesson in a clear and comprehensible manner. To raise money for lesson materials, the club sponsors bake sales along with using contributions from club members.

The club has a great impact for both the high school “teachers” and the second grade students. Fellow co-president Ali Brocato states, “the experience is personal and memorable when we are actively teaching and working with the second graders. It is fascinating to see them absorb all the information, as well as it is interesting that we, as high schoolers, learn how to teach information clearly, communicate with younger students, and understand when to help and push the second graders.” The trip is valuable to these young students, as they watch their high school role models teach them lessons instead of a traditional teacher or parent. The second graders also develop a love of science because of its presence their environment. Dylan Massoni, a member of the club, feels “exposing the kids early to scientific concepts is really important. I wish high schoolers had come to my classroom when I was that age to present interesting and educational lessons.”

To be a part of helping a child learn something new and perhaps making a difference in their education experience is very rewarding. Science can be difficult to comprehend for both elementary students and high schoolers, and this style of learning is motivating for the elementary students. When scientific ideas are presented to young students by older students through engaging activities, the outcome is not only educational, but inspiring for everyone. Although the club is new, it has great potential to be as popular as some of the seasoned clubs Byram Hills offers. Alexis Aberman believes “this club will be very successful in years to come. Its fundamental goal is to bring the community together while spreading education and our past few visits have been successful in doing so.” Judging by the success so far, it should certainly remain strong and hopefully it will expand so more young students as well as high schoolers have the chance to experience this learning process and become inspired by the fun of science.