Learning by Teaching Junior High Students Lead Lessons for Third-Graders

Article excerpt

If you teach students a lesson, maybe they'll remember it for five seconds. But if you ask them to teach, they'll remember it for the rest of their lives.

At least that's the theory behind a special school project at Daniel Wright Junior High School in Lincolnshire.

A group of seventh-graders at the school are teaming up to teach a variety of science concepts like force, motion and friction to third-graders in Lincolnshire-Prairie View Elementary District 103.

"When a child has an opportunity to teach that concept to another, it helps them gain a conceptual framework of understanding," said Anne Reichel, district staff development coordinator. "The reason why we're doing it ... it is something that is research-based."

Several leading theories on brain compatible research as it applies to education have identified the ways in which students sustain material.

Research states that students retain only 5 percent from lectures, 10 percent from reading, 20 percent from audiovisual aids, 30 percent from demonstrations, 50 percent from discussion and 75 percent from practice by doing.

"Typically in science classes we get to the 75 percent with practice by doing," Reichel said. "So this was our way of taking it up to the next level. They (researchers) claim that if you see something or hear something, the likelihood of remembering it is pretty slim. But if you teach someone something, the recall level is 90 percent."

District officials took that research and applied it to physical science, which is more difficult for children to understand and grasp. The role of these seventh-graders was to design an activity to help third-graders understand two key concepts about simple machines.

"That they make doing work easier, and that there either is a tradeoff of distance or direction when you use one or sometimes both," Reichel said.

Each team of two seventh-graders designed a hands-on learning station for the younger students with a visual backdrop, a poster board that has discovery-based questions. Each seventh-grade class developed different stations.

"We told them to make them simple but interesting," Reichel said. "Two girls had the pulley as their simple machine. The kids had to actually measure the force with a push-pull meter."

The project is part of a grant which the school hopes to get from Toshiba to fund materials.

"We wrote a competitive grant to fund it and broaden it down the road," Reichel said. "This year we funded it through the science budget."

Veterans honor teacher: Congratulations to Grayslake Middle School teacher Mike Lorence. He received first place in the state of Illinois for the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Citizenship Educator Teacher Award.

"It's a real honor to have a state winner in our school system," said Jose Duran, commander of VFW Post 2245 in Grayslake.

Lorence was among 50 state winners for teachers of sixth through eighth grades. A committee of post members Robert Wegge, Charles Lucas and Tom Good submitted the nomination. …