Brain Games: Students Take a Close Look at Biology

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

In an excellent example of Division unity, Antietam Elementary School gifted teacher Kathy Lamont, along with Jenna Conner-Harris and co-teacher Susan Guidry, gifted teachers at Lake Ridge Middle School, put their heads together to bring a brain dissection lesson to more than 100 sixth graders. Lamont’s fifth graders, now in the sixth grade, were not able to complete the in-person lab as a result of virtual learning last year. Thanks to Lamont’s determination and collaborative efforts, these educators planned an in-school field trip experience that will build connections to future biology material.

Lamont was determined to find a way to deliver the lesson and ensure the students’ exposure to the important content. It took creative thinking and scheduling, and a lot of collaboration across many levels, but the teachers were ultimately successful; giving the entire group of sixth-grade gifted students at Lake Ridge Middle the opportunity to take part. Even those students who were originally squeamish about undertaking this hands-on activity and given the chance to opt out, decided to stay with it as a result of Lamont’s engaging and fascinating presentation.

“Kathy is an expert classroom leader; her training, coupled with her background and great rapport with her former students, made her really engaging,“ said Conner-Harris.

“She started by highlighting the human brain and learning, which culminated with the dissection of the sheep brains. Even the kids disgusted with brains were enraptured. In total, it was two hours and cost us under $200. We’ve replicated a similar format for our combined seventh- and eighth-grade students, which we called ‘From Surviving to Thriving.’ Despite dealing with so much already, the administration at both schools were really very open-minded with allowing this to occur, and we are grateful.”


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