Learning ‘without noticing’: LHS sophomore Hannah Graham writes about recent field trip

What follows is a letter from Lapeer High School sophomore Hannah Graham about a recent field trip she participated in with many of her classmates:

LHS Sophomore Hannah Graham
LHS Sophomore Hannah Graham

My name is Hannah Graham and I wanted to share with you my amazing biology experience along with many others. Recently I had the opportunity to go on a field trip to Turrill elementary school, Zemmer, and Ferguson retirement home and present a Mitosis presentation. If you are unaware of what Mitosis is, it is cell reproduction and replication which enables us to live every day; without Mitosis we would not be able to survive.

Mr. Jeff Haring came up with a different learning style instead of the usual lecture and notes; this learning style let all of the students in his biology class to be creative. At first it was a challenge, figuring out how to present Mitosis and each of the cells processes through acting, singing, etc; but, he allowed us to go above and beyond, and actually make up plays, or a song instead of doing the normal read off of a presentation ordeal. It wasn’t just us coming up with our own presentations and reading off of a script or memorizing lines that we weren’t going to remember in a week. We actually learned the curriculum without noticing.

There were four groups out of all of his classes that actually had to tryout to see if the presentation was presentable, and or reasonably educational of course. Luckily, both of the groups out of my class were able to go on the trip. Those in my class that went were: Baylee Thompson, Alec nusz, Patrick McNulty, Jacob Rill, Mackenzie Maxwell, Layne Price, Ashley Pomorski, Emily Kirsammer, Anthony Maasch, Basil King, Nick Osentoski, Marisol Rodriguez,Eva Walker, and myself. Our class was split into evenly separated groups, and presented a play and a visual presentation. The play my group did was a reenactment of Romeo and Juliet, in which we showed the three last phases of mitosis, Metaphase, Anaphase, and Cytokensis. The other groups that went included: Will Taylor, Gavin Beckwith, Emily Alexander, Brady Bills, Monica George, Jesse Conway, Cristen lambert, Chelsea Kroll, Allison Davis, Quinton Cesefske, Nathan Newsome, Andrea Mchugh, Lauren Frederick,Noah Hirsch, Skylar Vettesse, Griffin Hammond, Tim Cahillelis, Evan Orr, Chad stamps, Cameron Johnson, Sam Cooke, Clayton Nolley, Bella Mirza, Hayden Rock, Skylar Humphries, Johnny Seabrooks, Malek Al Ghanem ,Alexis Brazelton.

Those groups did a “that’s good, that’s bad” reenactment in which they went through all of the phases one by one comparing and contrasting the process. We saved the best for last; Noah Hirsch, or the “artist” of this phenomenal song, explained mitosis through a ‘rap’ song. But here’s the catch, the song didn’t have any words. Noah was able to write a song that explained Mitosis step by step but at the same time got everyone to listen and get a clear understanding of what he was singing about. I assume you’re thinking “A rap song at a retirement home?”  Not going to work right? Wrong. Noah sang the song in a completely different tone and transformed an educational song into a beautiful enjoyable tune.

Once all of the presentations were over at the elementary school, the children had huge smiles on their faces and asked us to present us again. The middle school thought it was interesting the way we maneuvered ourselves into visual representations of the things that they are learning at the same time. But the thing that affected me the most was how the residents at the retirement home reacted. We presented two out of the four presentations to the residents, the song and the visual presentation. We showed them the visual, and then we sang the Mitosis song, they of course did not know exactly what we were talking about, but that was not the point. Our reason to go to the retirement home was to make someone happy. The residents that stay there are barely ever visited by people other than the nurses, and it was our mission to educate and entertain.

After we presented to the residents, we mingled with as many residents as we could lay our eyes on. I met a beautiful lady by the name of Edith, and simply just asked her how her day was, and she was in tears because of how happy she was that we came. I then talked to another woman by the name of Rose, she wasn’t able to walk and had a hard time speaking, but she made it clear to me what she wanted. “SING MORE SONGS” is what Rose said to me as soon as I said hello. So all of the biology students got together and created a striking idea. We were going to sing Christmas carols, a way to make the residents feel joyous and content with the snow that lay on the ground outside of their windows. Noah, being the caring compassionate individual he is, came up with the idea of going to the residents whom weren’t able to go see us sing. He went to numerous rooms, singing requested carols that the residents wanted to hear. We then sang songs, and said our goodbye as departure time was upon us.

For me, seeing how happy the elementary school, middle school and retirement home was, it gave me an optimistic outlook on how projects can actually have great meaning and impact. Simply singing a song gave us amazing opportunities to extend ourselves beyond the high school. Mr. Haring’s ambition to show us how important it is to understand what we are getting tested on proved correct (almost all of the students aced the test we took over Mitosis). Together as sophomores we were able to bond and receive priceless interaction or experience that is vital to growing and learning.  All in all the field trip was fantastic, and made me, along with others, feel like there is actually a good reason to learn this curriculum other than that it is required. Those who went on the trip are thankful for those that made it possible, and are extremely pleased with how well everything went.

Thank you for giving me your time to read my amazing experience and summary of the field trip, for it was a widely appreciated event.
Thank you, Hannah Graham

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