For the past several weeks, a group of three-year-old students from room 55 has been learning about volcanoes with their teacher, Ms. Shayna Manshoory. “This study of volcanoes came about because this group of five children had an interest in the topic,” shared Mrs. Shelley Lawrence, ECC and Lower School Director, adding that the students worked together to ask questions about volcanoes and Ms. Manshoory read them books so they could gather more information.
This research, and their love of lava, led to an expedition around the school with the students and Ms. Manshoory heading out in search of volcanoes. “Luckily, they walked through the ECC office where they met Ms. Lisa Zide, our admissions director,” Mrs. Lawrence shared. The children explained their work to Ms. Zide, who remembered that our sixth graders made a volcano last year, and it was still in the middle school science lab. Ms. Zide reached out to Ms. Sarah Arak, the middle school science teacher, and scheduled a field trip to the lab.
Just a few days later, our five young scientists made their way to the middle school science lab, where they were greeted by Ms.Sarah Arak in her lab coat. She led the children over to the volcano, which was sitting on the floor, and the fun began with a discussion about volcanoes. “The children’s knowledge and enthusiasm blew us all away,” shared Mrs. Lawrence. The students were even able to review a specific wall in the classroom, which was filled with information about the sixth-grade class’s findings, including their reflections and investigations.
But, we all know that just viewing a volcano and reading about how it works isn’t enough; of course, our young scientists wanted to see it erupt! Ms. Arak had each child put on goggles, just like a real scientist, and she carefully poured baking soda into the volcano. One of the students, Oliva, had the duty of pouring the vinegar into the volcano, which, much to the delight of our young scientists, triggered an eruption!
“As the children reflected on the experiment, Ms. Manshoory furiously took notes on the children’s theories so they could reflect on this experience and integrate this new knowledge with all they had learned before,” said Mrs. Lawrence, who noted that this activity was the perfect example of the Lainer School mission in action.
“Over the past 18 months ECC teachers have been reading books and working with our consultant, Paola Trigari, to make the Constructivist nature of our School mission come to life,” she said. Constructivism is a theory of learning based on the idea that children construct their own knowledge through hands-on experiences, social interactions, questioning and reflection. With our three-year-old students leading the way in this educational exploration, Ms. Manshoory was able to work with them to enhance the learning experience and bring it to life.