Bellows Scientists Spread Their Wings

Imagine dissecting an owl pellet, the sac that holds the undigested parts of the bird’s food, i.e. the skeleton of a mouse or a mole, then reconstructing the mouse or the mole from the miniscule bones.

Published April 6, 2014 6:26 PM
2 min read

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SCHOOLS-BELLOWS-thmbImagine dissecting an owl pellet, the sac that holds the undigested parts of the bird’s food, i.e. the skeleton of a mouse or a mole, then reconstructing the mouse or the mole from the miniscule bones.

By Janice Llanes Fabry

Janice-TosiImagine dissecting an owl pellet, the sac that holds the undigested parts of the bird’s food, i.e. the skeleton of a mouse or a mole, then reconstructing the mouse or the mole from the miniscule bones.

That’s the kind of lesson that third and fourth graders at F.E. Bellows have been involved with as a result of teacher Janice Tosi’s Lunch and Learn Super Science Club.

“The goal is to give students an opportunity for experiences outside of the classroom curriculum,” she said about the 12-week elective that is part of the district’s Enrichment Program.

Bellows’ 21st-century initiatives have unleashed the students’ passion for science. The club has allowed them to engage in the subject matter in ways that Tosi finds opens up a higher level of learning. It’s actually ideally suited to her teaching philosophy. Since she began teaching at Bellows 20 years ago, she’s had the same mantra hanging on a sign in her classroom: “I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.”

She believes hands-on experiences are the key to learning, particularly in the sciences. To that end, Tosi has introduced the kids to Insta-Snow, which erupts into fluffy snow in seconds and to Goldenrod paper, an acid-base indicator that beats the old litmus paper. “The kids love it. It turns a bright magenta when it comes in contact with a base,” she said enthusiastically.   

To explore the effects that moving air has on objects, she has had her students create three-dimensional figures with giant plastic Wind Tubes. To test friction, she had them create five different ramp surfaces and test them out with matchbox cars. The students have weighed chewed and unchewed bubble gum, created static electricity, and built catapults to understand simple machines.
“I love science and this program opens up a whole other cognitive level. I want the students to infer, analyze, make predictions and create hypotheses,” she remarked. “The kids love it.”

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