It’s biomedical engineering time! We finally got to implement our own lesson plans this week that we created months ago during the school year. This was so exciting but also a little nerve-wracking—I had hoped that they would enjoy it and learn as much as they could out of it. We had spent so much time on improving and revising the lesson plan, I did not want to disappoint the girls, and luckily the girls loved the hands-on projects we had prepared for them!
The first day of teaching our own lesson plan—which was about the model lung and discussing how air pollution affects a pair of our most important organs—went well, almost too well. The seventh-graders knew everything in our presentation, already understanding how the respiratory system works and its components. It propelled me to think of ways and other activities we could engage in the lesson to challenge these girls since we were moving along so fast. We didn’t have time to get to it, though, because some girls were struggling with teamwork. One girl had isolated herself and did not want to work with her group, which prompted us to converse with her to find out the root of the problem. Eventually, we had her work alone on her model lung, but we had her promise to work with the rest of the girls in the other biomedical engineering lesson plans. The rest of the class finished smoothly and all the girls were satisfied with their model lungs.
Future lesson plans went even better—the girls learned more information about the respiratory system, so I think the first class really knew their science and body. All of the girls participated, engaging and interacting with our presentation. The group of girls we had today were so uplifting and sweet.
This week, I am facilitating College Bound, where we advise these girls to pursue a four-year education. We watched a movie called Homeless to Harvard, and it was very inspirational. It is not about background and money that is necessary for one to achieve his/her dreams, but his/her passion, determination, and persistence. Without perseverance, one could stay in the same spot forever, but with launching oneself forward and having the courage to move, only then can steps of progress be made.
Many of the electives this week involved dancing, which most girls did not particularly enjoy. Many did not want to move and it was tough to motivate them to participate. However, the girls were very content making their own fidget spinners and all of them made especially creative designs.
The eighth-graders were calm and listened well, so our lesson plan went by without any bumps at all. Bold is such a great group of girls—I am excited to have them for robotics next week! Today is Wednesday, meaning it is Challenge day. All the girls are split evenly into four teams and they compete in relay races and team-bonding games for points. At the end of each Challenge, we tally up the points and see who is the ultimate winner at the end of camp. This week’s activity was entertaining: they had to pass “kelp” from one end to the other within their teams; the team that drops the least amount of kelp on the ground wins. Guess what this kelp is made of? Spaghetti with green food coloring—the girls can only use one hand to pass a pile of spaghetti from one person to the next, down a zipper line. Though most thought it was too disgusting too touch, they all still participated, although one of the girls thought the spaghetti was still edible and ate pieces of it. Even the other girls were appalled she ate the spaghetti, but the girl did not care and wanted to keep eating more until we persuaded her out of it.
A few problems did arise this week—some groups were a rambunctious crowd, but we got them to settle with song requests and redirecting them to the task at hand. Each class got more and more creative as the days went by; it was so impressive to watch. One group had made their model lung into Lady Gaga, another a “grandpa egghead,” another was named Bob-erina. The girls made exceptional model lungs—I can’t wait to show them off at Eureka-thon! It makes me proud when the girls ask if they can keep their projects after class—I feel overjoyed when they themselves are pleased with the amount of work and effort they have inputted into their craftsmanship.
At the end of our lesson, we always opened it up for a discussion about smoking and other factors that can harmfully impact our lungs. Every day, the girls were quiet, focused, and observed patiently during these last twenty minutes; it appears they were very interested in this topic. They always had a lot of questions and their curiosity offered a plethora of insightful contributions. A few girls shared some personal stories, which created an inclusive atmosphere for all to share, respect and listen. I felt very thankful that the girls trusted us and felt comfortable enough to talk about such a tough issue so seriously.