BY SYDNEY HAWKINS, MICHIGAN NEWS
GARDEN CITY—Teaching middle schoolers can be challenging during any given year, but this year was especially so.Shelley Lesko, a science teacher at Garden City Middle School, can attest. Lesko is one of the thousands of school teachers in Michigan who had to shift gears several times due to unforeseen COVID-19-related challenges and setbacks.
“We were completely virtual at the beginning of the year, and then we went to a hybrid classroom where some kids were at home and some were in person,” said Lesko, who teaches 7th and 8th graders. “It is really hard to teach hands-on science in this situation.”
During a normal year, Lesko’s lessons would include interactive labs where her students would share supplies and work in group settings—something that was not possible with this year’s COVID-19 protocols that included strict social distancing and sanitization guidelines. Not to mention the kids at home that would not be able to participate.
A bit of relief came this year when Jeanna Fox, outreach manager for the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, connected with her to ask how they could help.
Fox worked with Lesko and other science teachers at Garden City Middle School, Washtenaw International Middle Academy in Ypsilanti and Cesar Chavez Middle Academy in Detroit to identify hands-on experiments that would be most useful for their curriculum.
Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography