2020Toolkitshero

Middle School, Upper School

Science and Arts Toolkits Equip Students for Robust Remote Learning

To help provide an engaging learning experience, Northwest School faculty designed and assembled toolkits for students taking science and art classes. Sixth grade science teacher Erica Bergamini helped organize the Middle School science kits so that all students have the same tools to engage in science labs at home.

Says Erica: “We agreed that if the students had reliable consistent measuring tools, they could learn to collect data that could be compared, discussed, graphed, and analyzed.”

Middle School science students received a kit containing one metal-backed thermometer, fabric measuring tape, a 250 ml plastic beaker, a 50 ml graduated cylinder, a magnifier glass, a graduated transfer pipette, and a small 250-gram spring scale. With these kits, 6th grade students have practiced using the metric system and explored the effect of string length on pendulum swing speeds. Eighth grade science students have utilized the kits to compare the density of water and ice.

For the Upper School, the contents of science kits depended on what course the students are enrolled in. For example, the 10th grade biology kit contained beakers, graduated cylinders, microscope slides, eosin Y stain, methylene blue stain, and a piece of a small fossil. The science kits will allow the students to better engage in labs this school year.

“Science is all around us and observations and experimentations are a central tenant of understanding our environment,” says biology and chemistry teacher Clare Prowse. “The kits help students take a more active role in their science education within their home environment.”

For the visual arts classes, the take-home kits also differed depending on class. For example, students enrolled in watercolor received a watercolor paint set, acrylic paint, a watercolor paper pad, a small squeeze bottle, a paintbrush for acrylic paint, 20 watercolor brushes, a box of pencils, a pencil sharpener, and an eraser. Students taking Sculpture and Material Exploration received a large block of white and black polymer clay, modeling tools, and a plaster wrap cloth.

“It’s more important now than ever for students to work with their hands and learn how to use materials as well as creating, documenting, and looking at art digitally,” says visual art teacher and department chair Julia Freeman. “We will keep sending packets of art materials to our domestic and international students as long as we are online.”