The Graduate Student School Outreach Program, GRASSHOPR, pairs Cornell graduate students with teachers across neighboring counties. The students visit the schools and teach courses on topics related to their fields of interest. The K-12 students are able to experience new mentors that are eager to share their knowledge, while the graduate students and teachers benefit from exchanging ideas as they develop the curriculum.
During the presentation Florianna discussed some of the opportunities that educators have with the Next Generation Science Standards. She also acknowledged that there is a struggle in the classroom as students explore different ways to learn during Covid.
Florianna explains that while kids have access to resources like Google, it can inhibit critical thinking. Educators can benefit from asking good questions that can only be answered by understanding the content and the processes.
“Asking good questions is a life skill,” she says. “Instead of ‘yes or no’ questions, which will always have a place in learning, instead we can guide children in discussion by saying 'tell me about it', or asking them to describe the relationship between two things, such as cytoplasm and the nucleus of a cell’.”
Florianna also offered the CHESS Lending Library as a resource, which is filled with hands-on experiments that can engage and and educate students to think and ask questions.
As a longtime educator, Florianna offers more than just access to these kits, she has a passion for changing the way that students are taught. She explains that it all starts with the ability to think critically, and that teachers have reached out to her in search of ways to help with this.
Florianna’s mission, and that of the Lending Library overall, is to offer engaging laboratory kits and instructional materials to teachers and graduate students. To learn more about the Lending Library, visit: https://xraise.classe.cornell.edu