Middle School students get special lesson about STEM, history from guest lecturers
BY BRYCE KELLY
Mt. Pleasant News
With school winding down in preparation for Christmas break, students at Mt. Pleasant Middle School received a little change of pace this week as they heard from a variety of guest speakers who brought hands-on presentations ranging from science to history into the classroom.
In support of the ongoing classroom studies of both the middle school’s social studies and science courses, students heard from both local historians and former Mt. Pleasant High School graduates about how to apply what they have been learning to real-world applications.
For 2013 Mt. Pleasant Community High School graduate, Grace Lutovsky, presenting to groups of Mt. Pleasant Middle School sixth- and seventh-grade science students was a fun and educational experience. Lutovsky is currently a student at Iowa State University studying both Spanish and chemistry, and says the world of science holds a lot of great career opportunities for Americans.
“At Iowa State University, I work with a women’s science and engineering group, which supports women who are going out and getting degrees in science and engineering fields,” said Lutovsky. “One of our main projects is to go to various schools across Iowa and do projects that focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), in the hopes that it will push students to want to further their education in those fields.”
On Monday, Lutovsky presented a hands-on STEM project that taught students the various purposes, make-up and functions of DNA.
According to Lisa Carrasco, Mt. Pleasant Middle School media assistant, who helped orchestrate the hosting of the various speakers, the school is always looking for ways to further STEM studies, as well as bring real-world applications of classroom teaching to students.
“We knew Grace was in the area on her Christmas break from school and was looking to do some teaching in the classroom, so we thought combining all of this and inviting experts into the class to talk about these various fields would work well,” said Carrasco, who added she was thankful to the local historians who stopped by the school to teach students about southeast Iowa Civil War-era history.
Mt. Pleasant Middle School social studies students are currently doing a Civil War unit in the classroom. Among local historians and history buffs who brought southeast Iowa Civil War history into the middle school were Cindy Dorrell, Becky Wright and Pat White. On Monday, Wright presented a unit on Civil War quilts. Also on Monday, local historian White presented a Powerpoint presentation on Mt. Pleasant and Henry County Civil War history including photographs of the period and influential people of the Civil War era who were from Henry County. Dorrell spoke on the Underground Railroad.
“We were just lucky to get all these fantastic speakers who are willing to work with us. I think the kids have really enjoyed each of them,” said Carrasco.