“Miss... when are you coming back to our science classroom with your friends?”
“Miss… what’s the next City Year science challenge?”
These are two of the more frequent question I received from my 8th graders the day after Flour Cares day. On this day, corps members stepped out of their typical math and English classroom and stepped into a science classroom alongside volunteers from Fluor and Dallas Afterschool. To start the day off, City Year, Fluor, and Dallas Afterschool all participated in an opening circle led by myself to introduce our visitors to City Year culture, followed by a team builder led by Mr. Snapp, one of our sixth grade English corps members. Following Mr. Snapp’s team builder, Dallas Afterschool provided all of us with a wonderful tutorial on how our STEM activity would look inside our assigned classrooms. Then, it was GO time!
We all dispersed into eight different science classrooms. In the classroom, City Year and Fluor teamed up to explain our STEM activity to the students. The object of the activity was to get the students to build the highest tower using only uncooked spaghetti noodles and masking tape. The tower our students built had to be strong enough to hold a marshmallow at the very top. Overall, this was a very exciting day for our Medrano team as we got to show off how smart and creative our students are. Our friends from Fluor got the opportunity to learn more about Medrano and share with our students “what they fight for,” that being equal education for all. Flour volunteers made sure that every group of students saw the project as a fun experience.
One specific group in my 8th grade science classroom was having a difficult time coming together to complete their tower. Fortunately, our amazing Fluor volunteers were able to step in and save the day. Once they noticed this group was arguing, they were able to pull the group together and work through some conflict resolution. Our volunteers were able to talk the students through the project, help the students assign different roles to each other, and make a game plan for the rest of their class time. After the brainstorming session and execution of building the tower, their tower wasn’t the tallest in the class, but to them it didn’t matter. What mattered was that they worked through their issues together and were able to create a tower in the end.
Author and AmeriCorps Service Leader Laura Van Horn working with her students. Laura is in her second year of serving with City Year Dallas.