The DNA lesson consisted of the students learning the terms deoxyribonucleic acid and double-helix and the fact that DNA is in every living thing. They had an opportunity to make a DNA model from K’Nex with the correct nitrogen base pairings. In Fling it, students learned about levers and constructed their own catapult using ordinary household objects.
Communications Director Rebecca Moore and 3rd Grade Teacher Nanette Cox talked to the class about how to write a museum review. We talked a little about how all of us have a preference for how we learn best. Making the catapult was hands-on learning, whereas the DNA extraction required more listening and waiting. But it is often hard, and unnecessary, to separate learning from fun!
The class both wrote and dictated this review of their visit. (New vocabulary word: docent.)
Frederick said, “I’m more of a hands-on guy, so I liked the catapult better, but you may like the DNA experiment.”
For Chelsea, the DNA lesson was too hands-on: “because I didn’t want to touch the cantaloupe!”
“The docent taught us more facts about DNA and I felt there was more instruction,” said Ben. “We didn’t learn as much with the catapult because we were just told how to do it.”
Owen and Elizabeth liked being able to test and fire the catapult. “If it broke, we could fix it,” Owen said, “but we can’t fix DNA if it breaks.”
Griffin thought Fling it was the most fun, “because we got to make the catapults. We used duct tape, popsicle sticks, and spoons.”
“And rubber bands,” Cortner added. He liked the catapult “because we could do it at home.”
(Parents, consider that fair warning!)
Charles learned that with catapults “the heavier the object the farther it went.”
“I liked how the exhibits were easy to use and kid-friendly,” said Elizabeth.
Jackson liked seeing DNA models. “We saw what DNA looks like. We made our own DNA model with K’nex.”
Students also appreciated the facts they learned. Frederick said, “I never knew that there’s so much DNA in the human body. In one human body, DNA can stretch from earth to the moon and back 12 TIMES!”
Maggie said, “I didn’t realize that so many things have DNA, like dogs and trees. It’s not just humans. All living things have DNA!”
Grayson, whose favorite lesson was the DNA extractions, said of the visit, “I didn’t like leaving. The docents explained the classes very well. I would recommend others to go because it is fun.” Marshall agreed, adding that the exhibits are well set up.
The students thought the exhibits were best suited to students from grades 1-4, though they thought there were things that younger children would enjoy and that older children would benefit from how well basic scientific theories are illustrated or, as Owen said, “because I could look at the stuff and see how it works. “
Elizabeth says it is also good for kids who need to study for a science test. “The house in the exhibits is good for the little people like toddlers.”
Griffin adds, “This is the best place to go regarding whatever you’re studying in Science. Older kids should go depending on their lesson. But it is okay for little kids to go because they have a few exhibits that they might understand.”
Ben says: “The classes would be better suited for older students. I don’t necessarily see a bunch of older kids just going from exhibit to exhibit,” which for him is his favorite part, especially the snow-blowing machine.
This was a first trip to Sci-Quest for three of the students present when we spoke to them. All of the students said they would return.
Jack and Grayson: the earthquake machine
Charles: the burping machine.
Cortner: Shadow Play, the earthquake machine, the smell tubes, the bubble tub and the ultraviolet light box because they are all hands-on learning. All the activities were great, because you were learning while having fun. It’s great for all ages.
Griffin: the Electric Fire exhibit and the catapult lesson.
Ben: the snow-blowing machine, a group of body part exhibits, and an earthquake machine.
Cortner and Jack noticed that some of the exhibits did not work. Cortner urges the museum to please fix the tornado machine!
Frederick adds that Sci-Quest “is also good for college students who need jobs.”
Mrs. Cox says, “The Sci-Quest field trip experience is particularly exciting for our 3rd grade students. Learning scientific principles from the docents is one of the highlights of the field trip. As educators, we greatly appreciate how this field trip addresses skills from each of the ‘Six Cs’ of 21st Century learning.'” (The Six Cs—Character, Critical Thinking, Communication, Creativity, Collaboration and Cosmopolitanism—are the essential skills Randolph endeavors to teach throughout the curriculum.)
All but three of the students had visited the museum previously and all said they would return. For more information about the museum, click here.