Column: Fun, and plenty of learning, at WCSWORTHINGTON — The old saying goes: “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Well, time is flying at Worthington Christian School for we have put in three weeks of study in the 2011/2012 school year already.
By: Pam Slagter, Worthington Christian School, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The old saying goes: “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Well, time is flying at Worthington Christian School for we have put in three weeks of study in the 2011/2012 school year already. While most students wouldn’t necessarily say that time is flying because they are having fun (although you might find a few brave pupils that would admit this!), they all have to agree that many lessons, worksheets, problems and experiments have already been completed.
In the fifth through eighth grades, the students have already taken a Math Assessment and will be taking another one the beginning of next week. These math assessments are part of our curriculum to be constantly checking the retention and understanding of concepts that have been taught. It’s a great way to see if what’s going on in the classroom is doing more than filling our time. The eighth-graders are well into their studies of geometry. They are working on the concepts of area and space by studying the measurement of planes and computing angles. These lessons are more than just numbers and abstract lessons. They remind the students of the orderliness that God has placed in all of our lives, including the world of mathematics. So just as numbers and lines can go on into infinity or have a beginning and an end, the lessons just seem to be flying by!
Just as our math classes have many steps and processes to get to a final answer, in science we are working to understand the building blocks of the world around us. Science at these grade levels involves studying the smallest cell — to the immense universe. We are awe- struck at the great diversity and meticulous design of God’s creation. To see and understand this, the students are using microscopes and stereoscopes to examine things that we cannot see with the naked eye.
To apply these concepts more fully, the fifth- and sixth-graders are working on their first science project for the year. They are making a leaf collection. They are assigned to find 12 different tree leaves, identify them and place them in a booklet. They are discovering that there is quite a variety of trees here in southern Minnesota! To connect this observation and analysis process of the world around them, the students will be then be learning about the importance of trees and plants while studying the unit: Investigating Agriculture and Forestry.
The seventh- and eighth- graders are also involved with their first science project. Their project includes collecting insects, displaying them in an attractive manner and correctly identifying them according to the modern classification system. This project is an everyday application, since we see different insects daily no matter where we are. So if you ask any of these students what insects belong to the group Lepidoptera, they should tell you that butterflies and moths belong to this group. Application of these lessons and projects are vital to their growth and development as studying scientists. This makes the many types of insects that have been found to be more interesting and involved in their everyday lives. It also makes us realize that the world that God created is not simple and small. Some of the specimens that have been found are rather hard to identify and classify. It also makes us see how creative and unique God was as He made all of the insects. Some of our finds look rather menacing! All of this teaches us that we are not just an accident or process of change but a one of a kind creation. To observe this even more closely, we plan to dissect a grasshopper as a culmination of our insect study. For some time can’t come fast enough for such an event, but for others time could stand still a bit! Either way, it will prove to be an interesting day in the classroom.
Time will continue to fly at Worthington Christian School just as with all of the business of life, but with all of these exciting activities, it sure makes us again realize that just as math and science are in the hands of our Creator God so is the time of our hours, days, months and year.
Pam Slagter is a middle school science and math teacher at Worthington Christian School.