Why is the skin under my fingers white?

March 24, 2015

We all had a great day at TJS school supporting two learning projects.   The ice breaker was a Standard 4 class. Gould walked into a classroom and TJS students welcomed them and began talking and playing. Cameras are magic for young children, and Adalia quickly taught her group the art of selfies.


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While they were playing with Standard 4, Peter Southam was preparing the microscope lesson. Teachers make the best learners, and as Peter coached the Gould students to supervise each station, they were attentive!  By lunch time, about 120 students looked experienced each station.


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The first station used a compound microscope which means objects are magnified 40x. Students looked a red onion cell and drew the cell, labeled the visible structures of cell walls and nucleus, and completed the observation with proper observation format.  For many students, this was the first time looking at cells.


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The purpose of the second station was to observe a transparent ruler with a millimeter scale.  The intention was to understand how wide the field of view is with a compound microscope.

The third station used a compound light microscope at 400x.  This was observation and drawing of a single cell algae from the hippo pool.  The TJS students has a hard time looking at the microscope and drawing what they were seeing, and not what people were drawing around them. This was also a challenge for the Gould students who needed to keep the microscope focused.

The fourth station was a dissection or binocular microscope at 20x.  Students observed flowers at first and then it quickly changed to observation of hair, fingers, and insects.


After lunch, we hosted an activity for Standard 6 and 7. Using an empathy map, students observed a Standard 7 classroom and began to consider what elements of a classroom foster inspiration. After the filed observations, students free wrote about their dreams for the future and what are the things needed to achieve dreams. If they want to be a doctor, what do they need to learn about? Who do they know who might help them? What experiences will help them? Gould students prompted the TJS students to develop ideas. “Doing well in school” would turn into “Learning biology” and “Using microscopes”. After students reflected on their dreams, they drew a dream classroom for the TJS secondary school that opens January 2016.  What features of a classroom inspire dreams?




Adalia having fun blowing bubbles with the TJS students.



Today, the students go on homestay and Peter and I will work at the school. He will train teachers on the microscopes. I will set up the computer room with a server which hosts Khan Academy light and other teaching apps, and then begin to look through all the student drawings to find the key insights for the secondary school classrooms.

The students are excited and nervous for homestay, and are in caring hands of their hosts.


One Response

  1. Avatar Sarah Flores says:

    Thank you for this post!!

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