“Who will volunteer to give me a cheek cell?” asked Persell Middle School teacher Mary Maggio. Lincoln Elementary School second grader Carsen Bane raised his hand. Mrs. Maggio swabbed cells from inside Carsen’s mouth and showed them to the entire second grade through a microscope projected onto a classroom screen.
“See to the left side of the slide, that is a cheek cell. I’m going to magnify it and we will probably see a little bit of bacteria. But we know that a little bit of bacteria is a good thing. When you come to Persell Middle School, we actually do this experiment in science and you will all get to see your own cheek cell under a microscope.”
Mrs. Maggio, and fellow teachers Lina Scoma and Erica Hannon, visited the second grade classrooms of Mary Cook, Matt Langworthy, Lauren Walters and Laura Burstrom. The Persell teachers also brought along seventh and eighth grade students, Jonathan Sandstrom, Alisha Rensel, Nolan Stevenson, Elle Noo, and Michael Cammarata.
Mrs. Maggio’s daughter, Sydney is a second grader in Mr. Langworthy’s class. She came home and explained that they were learning about the human body, body systems and staying healthy in an ELA module. One of the Listening and Learning stories in the module talks about Anton van Leeuwenhoek, a scientist who looked at and kept a journal of bacteria. He also hired someone to draw pictures of bacteria.“I thought it would be a great experience for the seventh and eighth graders to work with the younger students,” said Mrs. Maggio. “Many of these children will eventually become students at Persell. I love that they are learning about cells in elementary school and want to get the students excited about science.”
During the visit, Persell teachers discussed cells and where they are found. Students were divided into smaller groups lead by Persell students to look at various cells under a microscope. The Persell students were an important part of the hands-on learning because they are familiar with how to use a microscope correctly.
“I liked working with the younger kids, it was interesting to see what they were thinking about science,” said Persell Middle School student Michael Cammarata. “I enjoyed showing them slides, and then asking them what they thought it looked like. It is important to work with younger students because you can gain experience for later years of life, for instance, babysitting or having your own children.”
“It is always good for students to know that what we are learning about in second grade is connected to their future learning,” said Mrs. Cook. “These second graders will learn much more about using microscopes and observing bacteria when they get to the middle school and this is a nice collaboration.”