Here at Anatomy in Clay, not much makes us happier than the sight of students teaching other students about our favorite topic
Of course, human anatomy.
So what happened recently in a Northglenn High School classroom was especially moving because of the unique twist—high school students sharing what they had learned about the digestive system with younger students from Morgridge Academy.
This particular day of instruction was part of an ongoing relationship between Northglenn High School, a high school with a heavy STEM focus in the north Denver suburbs, and Morgridge, a K-8 school that serves students with chronic illnesses in downtown Denver.
Morgridge is located on the same campus as National Jewish Hospital, by the way, and it’s the only school of its kind in the country.
The Northglenn High School students, after studying the digestive system for about three weeks as part of their human body systems class, were asked to create a lesson plan and teach small groups of third- through fifth-grade students from Morgridge.
About half of the high school students, who worked in teams of two or three, used the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System in their lessons for their younger peers.
That’s because they have been using the very same system, which has been part of teacher Lori Egan’s classroom approach for many years. Lori uses a Project-Based Learning, an instructional approach that encourages students to work together to tackle questions and to explore and investigate questions and challenges.
The older students shared key insights about the form and function of the digestive system and showed the younger students how to build the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, intestines, and more, with clay. Many of the teams encouraged their younger Morgridge peers to roll out clay and shape the body parts and then apply it to their MANIKEN® models.
Where this whole partnership elevates to an ever more involved level of interactive peer-to-peer learning, however, is that it just so happens that Morgridge students also use Project-Based Learning (PBL) in their studies.
So the Morgridge students will soon take what they have learned at Northglenn High School and develop their own presentations on the digestive system and, later in the spring, the Northglenn high schoolers will travel to Morgridge and evaluate their younger peers’ work.
Talk about a cool full circle of learning!
Egan points out that it’s an especially beneficial relationship because her classes include many students who are contemplating careers in the medical field. What better exposure to the health care world than to work with younger students who are currently receiving medical care?
“It’s good for them to kind of see that piece of life,” says Egan. “It’s good for them to be around those students.”
And teaching them, too.
Thanks to all the teachers (students, too) at Northglenn High School and Morgridge Academy. And thanks for all you do.
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