Starting in October of last year, and ending this May, the Helix Charter Earth Science Journal is an assignment that tasked students with creativity, research, peer to peer communication…and fun.
When Helix Earth Science Teacher Ms. Duncan was asked about her inspiration for creating the Journal, she said, “As a scientist, a writer, and a poet, it’s a chance to discuss science differently, an opportunity for creativity and open-mindedness.”
Ms. Duncan wanted her students to show off their creativity by picking a topic of controversy in the scientific community, to then give their own opinions on it through a poem, or work of art, and that is The Earth Science Journal.
The Journal lists many different topics the students choose to discuss, which changes year by year, so there is always something new to discuss. Two of her students, Diego Alvarez and Emilee Sierra, rated the assignment 9 and 9.5 out of 10, so clearly, it was very enjoyable.
Right after giving the rating, Alvarez said, “it’s fun to work with peers, fun to explore others’ opinions of subjects that aren’t much discussed. Sierra added, “it’s stressful grading work besides that, it’s a great experience”.
Alvarez chose a very controversial topic currently- vaccinations. He created a poem expressing how he feels on the matter and backed it up with research. Sierra also completed a poem, hers on genetic mutation.
Both Alvarez and Sierra felt that it was a powerful learning experience, both saying, “it improves writing, communication, and research skills.” When I asked them if there was anything at all that needed changing, they both said, “no, it’s solid,” without hesitation.
The Earth Science Journal created by Ms. Duncan pushes students towards strong communication, creativity, and writing skills.
Sierra concludes, “other classes should be aware of the journal, and should participate in its process.”
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