Students on Science Night: Gross, Awesome and Cool

A girl took a look at a dissected pig’s heart and bladder displayed on a classroom table. “Ooo, gross!” she said.

A boy followed her into the classroom and examined other dissected animals. “Oh, awesome!” he said.

There was something for everyone – or not — at a recent East Oakview Elementary School “science night” put on by the Parent Teacher Committee. The second annual event featured a live python, animal skulls and science demonstrations. Staff and volunteers from John Ball Zoo helped out, as did science students from Northview and Comstock Park high schools. Kohl’s also sent volunteers and contributed $500.John Ball Zoo employee Angie Allen shows off a ferret named “Ferret”

Sarah Weber, the PTC secretary/treasurer and a science teacher at Comstock Park High School, said the idea was to interest East Oakview students in science while more deeply engaging high school students in their studies.

Student teacher Nichol Wolverton helps first-grader Leah Murphy inspect a grasshopper“It’s kind of a win-win for everybody,” Weber said.

“We don’t get enough chance to teach science in the elementary schools, so this is a great thing,” added Principal Jerry Klekotka, a former science teacher.

Nine classrooms featured different activities. In the dissection room, first-grader Leah Murphy peered through a microscope at a grasshopper. “He has such big eyes!” she exclaimed.

In other rooms, students saw minor miracles of science such as isopropyl alcohol being burned off a bill without the money burning.Kindergartener Clark Bennett peers at a walking stick with help from Nichol Wolverton, a student teacher at Northview High School

 Fourth-grader Brianna Kulfan ran her fingers over a coyote skull, a snowy owl foot and a boa constrictor’s skin. She was not grossed out in the least. “It was really cool,” she said afterward. “I like feeling the textures on all the things.”

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East Oakview Elementary School

Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.

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