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HHS students teach science to fourth-graders

Oct. 06, 2012 @ 12:35 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A group of juniors and seniors from an environmental science class at Huntington High School took the lead Friday morning in teaching a class of fourth-grade students how to test oxygen levels in the Ohio River.

The effort was part of a collaboration between Huntington High, Guyandotte Elementary and Marshall University through the Professional Development Schools program. Both of the public schools are part of the program, but Friday marked the first time different grade levels intermixed on a project, said Jenny Nash, who works with the June Harless Center at Marshall.

"This gives the elementary students a chance to do a project with equipment they don't have access to and teachers aren't trained for," Nash said. "And the high school kids have to teach the concepts."

Mandy Flora, whose students took part in the water testing at the Guyandotte boat ramp, said the class allows the kids to learn about the scientific method outside of the classroom and apply it in their community. She also complimented the work of Richard Sharpe's students, who led all aspects of the testing while allowing the fourth-graders to participate in the hands-on data collection.

"We're trying to encourage science at every level," Sharpe said. "And it helps our high school kids because if you really want to learn something, you teach it."

Isaiah Settle, a senior at Huntington High, said he and his classmates had worked hard to prepare for the experience of leading the younger kids. Maybe, he said, it will steer some of them toward a career in science.

"When I was smaller, we didn't go out (for science experiments)," he said. "It was book work. For them, they get to go out and do something hands-on and get to know more about science. I didn't really have that moment."

Sharpe said an effort is under way to duplicate Friday's experience at other elementary schools in Cabell County, while Flora said it may spur ongoing projects at each grade level in partnership with Sharpe's classes.