April 25, 2008


TC3 teaching students step into the classroom

Science class at college gives students practical teaching experience in area schools

TC# Teach

Bob Ellis/staff photographer     
Tompkins Cortland Community College student Carrie Harris helps students in Pam Tuttle’s second-grade class during her student-teaching exercise at Homer Elementary School Thursday afternoon.

Staff Reporter

HOMER — Four students sat around a short table at Homer Elementary School waiting for their turn Thursday to practice their lesson on elementary students while a classmate presented her lesson.
The five Tompkins Cortland Community College students, all in professor Randy McGory’s biology and earth science class, each presented a lesson they developed to second-graders in teacher Pam Tuttle’s class.
All TC3 students are required to take a science course, but McGory’s is designed for education and early childhood development majors.
McGory, who has taught at TC3 as an adjunct instructor for four years, added the classroom presentations in local schools last year after student feedback.
Tuttle said McGory’s students started coming to her classroom in the fall.
“He presented it and it sounded like a great idea,” Tuttle said, adding it allows her and her students to look at learning from a different perspective. “I enjoy having other adults and college students in the classroom. I think it enriches the experience.”
Five TC3 students gave science presentations in her class Tuesday and another five gave presentations Thursday. The remaining eight students are to give presentations later at Homer Intermediate School and Groton Elementary School.
On Thursday, three of the TC3 students gave lessons on animal classification and characteristics.
Oksana Kalytyuk, one of the TC3 students, used pictures of animals she passed around to the class, and had them match them with how they move — swim, fly, climb or hop — for example.
“You don’t know what to expect,” said Kalytyuk, who said she was nervous about presenting before the students.
TC3 students Carrie Harris and Stephanie King both did animal classification lessons. Harris helped students classify mammals versus reptiles and students cut out animal pictures and made posters with the two classifications separated.
“I thought it was fun,” she said of working with the young students.
Nicole Smith, another TC3 student, used a Slinky and two cups tied together with a string to demonstrate sound waves.
“A Slinky represents the way we hear,” Smith said, as she moved it back and forth between her two hands.
She showed that with a loose string, the makeshift “telephone” did not work, but as soon as the string was straightened the student at the other end could hear. “The strings have to be very tight,” Smith said. “The string is like the slinky.”
Before ending the lesson students made and decorated their own telephones. “My heart was pounding,” Smith said, after the lessons.
Two Homer students picked this as their favorite lesson.
“I love lessons because it’s so cool to learn interesting things that I don’t know,” said second-grader Kaelyn Burda.
While Burda mentioned the Slinkies, second-grader Brett Miller said he liked the hearing lesson and making the phones.
TC3 student Kaci Williams talked about how food is broken down in the stomach and that food gives people energy to do things. She used simple diagrams and an experiment.
“We’re going to make magic here,” she said, about the experiment, which mixed yeast and sugar.
This mixture was placed in a plastic bottle with a balloon over the opening. Students watched as the balloon filled after the bottle was rubbed.
“This represents the energy you get from food,” Williams told the students.
Brett said it was “a cool trick to make the balloons go up.”
McGory said Williams’ lesson was a little advanced for the second grade, but she did a good job relating it to what the children already know.
“They have the energy and excitement you want them to have,” Williams said of the Homer students, after the presentations.