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Developing Young Leaders Through Science Exploration
By: Lower School Science Teacher Abbie Duvall
At Rossman, we strive to give our students a well-balanced education and positive skills they will need for the future. Teaching our students to be kind, responsible lifelong learners, thinkers, creators, leaders and so much more, doesn’t just involve standing in front of a classroom instructing or demonstrating to them. It involves giving students opportunities every day to be leaders themselves, giving them choices and immersing them in hands-on experiences that help them grow in all aspects of education.
In Lower School science, I give students the opportunity to develop leadership skills in many ways. One of the ways I try to achieve this goal is through “Scientist of the Week” in second grade. Each student is assigned a week to be the scientist for the class. It is their job to come up with a science experiment or demonstration to perform for the class on their own. They can choose any science topic, experiment or idea they would like to teach the class about. They research, study, practice, and on Friday, they finally get to be the scientist for our class. The scientist stands in front of their classmates and takes on the leadership role as the teacher. I watch our scientist, along with the other students, and become a learner myself every Friday.
Allowing each student to teach their classmates something new gives them a great sense of responsibility and achievement. It is wonderful to see the transformation from student to scientist leader come so naturally to each of them. Students take the job very seriously and instantly gain respect, admiration and wonderment from their peers every week.
This science exploration not only helps develop leadership skills at a young age, but it also gives students an avenue to experience and discover different types of science in ways we might not be able to cover in our units. After each experiment, the students write what they learned from their scientist. When they have questions or need help, the scientist steps in with the uttermost confidence and is able to address any inquiry. As their teacher, I am there to support and guide the students, but on Fridays, I watch in amazement as my young scientists become my inspiration to think of bigger and brighter ways to encourage their educational growth.
Giving students the smallest of opportunities, choices and explorations allows them to feel proud of their own abilities. We want them to feel and understand that learning is developed through interactive project-based activities that can be done on their own. The excitement and passion this project brings is proof in itself how beneficial and important creating the experience for each student allows them to be confident positive leaders to each other.
Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills. Request a free Rossman School brochure here.