Honors students design lab experience for Westminster youngsters

November 20, 2012

The kids from the Westminster Boys and Girls Club learned a lot about invertebrates during the hour they spent in the lab with several McDaniel honors students – and best of all the experience whet their appetites for learning.

It’s a fool-proof formula – kids plus slimy, wiggly critters equals eewws, ahhhhs and more than a few squeals. But look beneath the obvious, and you see the sense of wonder, the beginnings of scientific curiosity and the idea that learning can be fun.

That’s as true for the elementary through middle school students from Boys and Girls Club as it is for the McDaniel honors students who designed the lab experience.

Professor Molly Jacobs

To turn their Invertebrate Zoology class into an honors-enriched experience, their professor challenged them to creatively modify lab for the BGC students. With the help of their professor, Molly Jacobs (above), they figured out which invertebrates to feature, set up microscopes and earnestly helped each budding scientist explore the zoology of the spineless critters.

Kids from the Westminster Boys and Girls Club looking through a microscope

“Our students often volunteer at Boys and Girls Club, but we want to find ways to have the Boys and Girls Club members here in our classrooms and labs – experiencing McDaniel,” says Stephanie Madsen, Psychology professor and director of the college’s Honors Program.

The McDaniel students seemed to be having just as much fun as their BGC students.

Junior Candace Lyle working with kids from the Westminster Boys and Girls Club

“We wanted them to be able to look, touch and observe different invertebrates,” said Candace Lyle (above), a junior from Baltimore, smiling as she watched the varied reactions to a flagellating Nereid worm in a Petrie dish and cautioned one 7-year-old to be careful since the worm bites. “I love kids!”