Kindergarten and Senior Buddies Explore Movement

In a truly exciting collaboration, Hackley’s seniors in Advanced Biology, with Mrs. Clingen, are working with a section of Kindergarteners, with Mrs. Kaegi, in the Hackery, on a project related to evolution and locomotion.
This partnership between our Ks and our 12s has been nurtured throughout this school year through the creation of buddy system.

The Advanced Biology students have been reading Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution, a Royal society prize winning science book by Nick Lane. Each chapter describes an innovation achieved through natural selection. The class is using this book to organize research projects and laboratory activities as part of our coursework for this second year of biology studies.

As the class dug into Chapter 6, “Movement: The Power and the Glory” and learned about the importance in animal evolution of the development of tissues, like muscles, that allow animals to move – so they can eat and also keep themselves from being eaten by another animal, they drew from their knowledge of the human skeleton and their interest in other animals to come up with a way to model animal movement that could be done with their Kindergarten buddies. Ongoing themes included the relationship between structure and function, and model making is key to helping students understand how form fits function; sharing this with young learners enhances our Seniors’ own depth of understanding – and, they really just enjoy spending time with their Kindergarten buddies!

The feeling is mutual: as they set out from the Lower School, the Kindergarten students are bursting with excitement to see their 12th grade Science Buddies. Generally, the Kindergarten students are given a snippet of an idea of what is in store for them in each meeting, but it isn’t until they get actively involved that they begin to understand the goal and purpose of their given task. With each session, the Kindergarteners always approach their assignments with grand enthusiasm and tons of curiosity.

Their most recent visit to the Makerspace was no different. According the class, it was “the best day ever,” and they cannot wait to go back for more creative fun. They truly enjoyed having the opportunity to work with, and alongside, their Science Buddies while trying to create a 3D model of a section of particular type of animal movement. The children loved the problem-solving they encountered as they tried to use the various materials that were provided.

While trying to work through each of their cooperative tasks, students in both age groups engaged in critical thinking skills and supportive conversation. The Kindergarteners felt valued as partners and empowered by their learning. Upon returning back to the classroom, the Kindergarten students enjoyed presenting their projects to their classmates. The children were able to verbalize all of the steps to create their 3D model AND name all of the materials they used as they exhibited their work for all to see.

Whether the students are inside the Biology Lab or outside on Hackley’s campus, the bonds of the Kindergarteners and their Senior Science buddies continue to grow, and the Kindergarten team is grateful for Mrs. Clingen’s creativity and the gift of time that her Biology Students give to the Kindergarteners. Each Kindergarten child will tell you that having a Science Buddy is truly a highlight of their Kindergarten year here on the Hilltop at Hackley.