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Making science ‘cool'

• Fifth-graders learn from high school students

Posted: May 23, 2008 2:18 a.m.
Updated: July 24, 2008 5:02 a.m.

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Fifth-grader Rod Andino pressed his finger against the plastic covering that protected the dissected pig, touching the various body parts.

"I thought it was going to be more gross, but it's not really," Rod said. "It's kind of cool how they use it for science and not for bacon."

Kevin McGroary, a fifth-grade teacher at Rosedell Elementary School, took his students down the street to Saugus High School Thursday to get them excited about science. They visited the science classroom of Saugus teacher Diane Hamburger, and throughout the morning the fifth graders looked at dissected pigs and cats, made ice cream, captured insects and then looked at them under a microscope, and extracted their own DNA with a cheek swab.

The activities go along with the science standards McGroary's students have been studying this year, he said.

"They're really excited about seeing the pigs and the cats, because we've been studying body parts in class," McGroary said. "But it's one thing to see it in a textbook and another thing to see it first hand."

Hamburger has been inviting students from Rosedell Elementary to visit her classroom for about eight years now to show them how fun science can be.

"It gets the fifth-graders excited about science in hopes that they will take a lot of science courses when they get to high school, and perhaps consider science as a career," Hamburger said. "It also allows my students to work with the elementary students to teach them.

"They learn the concepts better when they have to explain them to someone."

McGroary said his students also enjoy learning from the high school kids.

"They like working with the high school students, and it gets them excited about coming to high school," he said. "We try to do the best job we can to prepare them."

Fifth-grader Philip Germain looked at the dissected pigs and cats to learn about body parts.

"I think that it's kind of hard looking at the inside of an animal, but once you start learning about the systems and how they work, it's kind of beautiful," Philip said before grabbing a butterfly net and heading off to the hill by the school to collect insects.

"I'd like to find a stink bug and some stick bugs, because they're really cool," he said.


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