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Escondido Students Step Into Shoes Of Teachers, Museum Curators

Rock Springs Elementary third-grader Keira Campbell, right, aims a ping-pong ...

Photo by Megan Burks

Above: Rock Springs Elementary third-grader Keira Campbell, right, aims a ping-pong ball at a net as part of a science exhibit, Nov. 17, 2017.

Students from Rock Springs Elementary School got a crash course in all things science Friday — but not from their teachers.

This is the third year sophomores at Del Lago Academy in Escondido have teamed up with the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum to translate the science concepts they’ve mastered into bite-sized pieces for little ones.

“What goes here?” Jasmine Vo asked the kids at her exhibit on the life cycle of frogs and butterflies. “Look for it in the sand.”

The third graders searched for caterpillar and tadpole puzzle pieces to affix to a diagram of the animals’ life cycles.

“They start in eggs, and then they start in, like, a small little blob with a tail,” said Ivan Sanchez, describing a tadpole. “And then they turn into a small frog, and then at the end they turn into a huge frog.”

Reported by Matthew Bowler

The learning is meant to go both ways.

“There’s a lot of learning that’s happening, even right now,” said Sudi Memarzadh, a teacher at Del Lago. “Some of the projects are working, some of the projects are breaking, some of the projects are not attracting the little kids. So these are all little teaching moments.”

She said the four-week project teaches problem-solving, collaboration and even writing. Students have to draft marketing materials for their exhibits and put together social media mockups as if they were real exhibits.

The students also get face time with actual museum professionals who advise them on what makes an exhibit successful. It has to be fun, durable and collaborative, said Discovery Museum Director Javier Guerrero.

Photo credit: Del Lago Academy

Sophomores at Del Lago Academy in Escondido work on science exhibits in this undated photo.

“If there’s a project where it takes more than one child to do it, that can be really great, as well,” he said. “Children learning with other children is really powerful.”

Especially across grade levels.

Guerrero said there is a chance some of the projects will be built to scale for the public. Students are also invited to interview for a paid internship at the museum.

Do you know it well enough to teach it? That’s the question a unique partnership with the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum is posing to sophomores at Del Lago Academy.

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