Learning science at the Ave Maria Catholic Academy has gotten a lot more interesting lately. As of two months ago some supplies from the state fueled an effort at the school to transform one classroom into a brand new science lab.
The completed project has students from the fifth through the eighth grades experiencing earth, life and the physical sciences from the added dimension of hands on learning. Students are now utilizing scientific equipment to test and prove hypothesis and conduct scientific experiments.
Vincent DiPiazza has been teaching 5-8th grade science for the last four years at the school. “From the minute we started using the lab, you could see the interest level rising.” DiPiazza says the equipment and the smart board really contribute to many styles of learning.
That sentiment is echoed by Principal Maria Cuomo. “The lab is integral in offering a learning dimension that supplements book learning.” Understanding and addressing diversity in learning is something Cuomo says in imperative in successful education.
“What we do here [Ave Maria] is recognize that all students do not learn best in the same way. This lab is one example of offering a wonderful learning tool outside traditional education that opens so many doors to our students.” Education experts throughout the United States agree that the introduction of alternative learning methods inspire confidence in students who may not gain full understanding of difficult concepts through conventional methods.
A visit to the lab found the eighth grade breaking apart bars of soap while conducting an experiment to determine density. Microscopes line the shelves and boxes of slides and apparatus fill the shelves of cabinets lining the walls of the new lab. An observer can instantly sense the interest of the students who actively discuss and solve problems as a group.
“It gets the whole class involved,” according to eighth grader Amanda Salzano. “Some people are not great with books, but in the lab they do great. It’s good for all of us.” And classmate Christopher Patrino agreed, “It [the lab] takes us outside the text books and gives us hands on experience and a new way to learn.”
by Patricia Adams