'Journal Tribune' spotlights UNE education students wowing kids with science

A static electricity learning station, created by UNE education students Summer McGowan and Jessica Loverdi, was one of 12 stati
A static electricity learning station, created by UNE education students Summer McGowan and Jessica Loverdi, was one of 12 stations offered to Biddeford Primary School students at the recent Family Science Night.

November 29, 2017

Phoebe Hopkins instructs students at her "Which Beak is Best" learning station.
Phoebe Hopkins instructs students at her "Which Beak is Best?" learning station.
Amelia Coffey and Lilli Sundgren pose with their display for Family Science Night.
Amelia Coffey and Lilli Sundgren pose with their display for Family Science Night

The November 16 issue of the Journal Tribune featured a front page article about the successful Family Science Night that 24 UNE education students held at Biddeford Primary School (BPS).

Krysten Gorrivan, a second-grade teacher at BPS who is spending her sabbatical year as a Teacher Educator Fellow in UNE’s Department of Education, designed the curriculum of her Teaching Elementary Science course to require that her students conceive of and lead a Family Science Night event. “The UNE students partnered up to collaborate in presenting a lesson and experiment to students in kindergarten through fifth grade,” Gorrivan explained. She said that the Biddeford School Department’s commitment to STEM education made them a fitting partner for this endeavor.

The UNE students created 12 learning stations for the youngsters, and, according to Gorrivan, all were great successes. “I feel that they surpassed any and all expectations I had,” she stated. “They were so engaged with the students, and even parents were giving the feedback that they learned something from the UNE students.”

Kristen Vandissel, who is working toward a master’s degree in education at UNE and who offered a learning station about force in motion at the event, shared, “It’s very rewarding to watch children grow and have that ‘aha moment’ when they understand something for the first time.”

Gorrivan said that the goal of having her students hold a Family Science Night is to foster creativity in lesson planning in order to engage students in learning as much as possible. “I want [my students] to see how important it is to be creative with their planning in order to motivate and engage their students to learn,” she said. “Science and social studies are two subjects that really catch those students that otherwise feel disconnected and uninterested in school and in their education. We teachers need to embrace these content areas and make learning fun for the students.”

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