High school students teach elementary science lesson

High school students teach elementary science lesson

Student reacting to an experiment

Chemistry students at Davis High School became the teachers recently as Windridge fourth-graders learned alongside them about energy transference.

Windridge Teacher Christie Bouy said her students have been learning about how objects, such as solar arrays, transfer energy. She wanted the students to see firsthand how it works, but knew the school couldn’t afford to purchase a solar panel just for her hands-on lesson. 

“I love science and I got thinking, what if these kids actually learn what actually encompasses solar,” she said. “It could spark their imaginations to maybe be one of the new inventors for something later.”

With that in mind, Bouy reached out to Davis High to see if there were any lessons in their science classes that would demonstrate energy transference. Working with Davis High Science Teacher Karen Ray, three classes of fourth-grade students went on a walking field trip and learned how to make a solar cell with the assistance of three chemistry classes. The elementary students also tested the battery power conducted by multiple metals using a variety of produce as the conductors.

“These kids don’t get scared (doing experiments in elementary school) … then they get to junior high … and I think they lose their spark sometimes,” Bouy said. “So I thought if they could see in high school, all that hard work and what it could lead to, maybe they would stay in that area.”

Ray said the high school students looked forward to the opportunity to work with the elementary students.

“It’s a different way for the kids to learn,” Ray said. “They get to actually become the teacher. As the teacher you learn so much more than just being on the receiving end. My kids recently did this lab and they are having to turn around, be the teacher and remember everything they learned.”

Students working on a science experiment

To make the solar cell, students had to first create the correct copper compound. High school students

heated the copper strip over a flame while the elementary students experimented with the fruit and vegetable “batteries.” Once the compound was created, the treated strip was placed in water with an untreated copper strip. The students then demonstrated how salt is needed to act as the conductor before any amperage is detectable. The students also demonstrated how the copper compound is sensitive to light. Shining a phone flashlight on the treated copper caused a small jump in the amperage reading.

Davis High student Julia said she enjoyed working with the elementary students, some of whom were her neighbors.

“They love science and I love science and it’s really cool,” she said. “I think when you try to explain it to them, it makes you understand it better.”