Learning beyond the classroom

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Multiple courses on campus ventured out to the hallways and rotunda on Wednesday in an attempt to heighten engagement and excitement in AP Biology, AP Human Geography, and Astronomy.  

If we were in the classroom, we wouldn’t be able to move around as much, and they wouldn’t be able to get that experience of seeing how stuff is actually moving through the cell,”

— AP Biology teacher Richard Sabatier

“I think it’s more engaging, kids are more interested in it, and it’s more fun than me just sitting there and giving them the notes,” AP Biology teacher Richard Sabatier said. “With this activity, we’re seeing how information goes from the nucleus, getting into a protein, leaving the cell. So they get actually walk that and visually see that, so it helps it stick better, and it’s more fun for me too. If we were in the classroom, we wouldn’t be able to move around as much, and they wouldn’t be able to get that experience of seeing how stuff is actually moving through the cell.”  

Analyzing space and celestial objects is part of astronomy, and teacher Kenric Davies believes activities outside of the classroom promote exposure to course topics. 

“Astronomy is all about looking at patterns in the sky, the sun, moon, stars, so you have to get out of the classroom in order to see the sky, so we do as much as you can,” Davies said. “We have a simulation software called Stellarium, that we use when we need to look at something that’s not visible during the day; if we’re not outside of the classroom, we’re using the simulation software. I think if they literally see what we’re talking about, like how the sun is moving in the course of 30 minutes, it means a little bit more than just looking at it on the computer screen where someone coded it.” 

Senior Christine Le believes activities outside and in the hallways allow her to further understand the connection between classroom lessons and the real world.  

Working outside the classroom makes the class feel more flexible and relaxed, and it allows me to work with people outside of just a table group and learn in a tactile way,”

— freshman Ashley Weidenbach

“Doing activities in astronomy outside of the classroom really helps me see what we are studying first hand,” Le said. “It’s also more interactive and engaging to be able to apply the topics we learn and see how it applies to the real world.”

Although AP Biology and astronomy are usually upperclassmen courses, freshman Ashley Weidenbach got a taste of what’s to come as AP Human Geography includes a hands-on curriculum as well.  

“Working outside the classroom makes the class feel more flexible and relaxed, and it allows me to work with people outside of just a table group and learn in a tactile way,” Weidenbach said. “I think if we did the activities we do just sitting at desks and stuff, it would be way less fun and would make hard concepts more difficult to understand because we wouldn’t be able to learn it hands on.”