As principal of Carver Magnet Middle School, Dr. Donnie Chambers reflected on his years as a student doing various projects in the science lab. He always noticed that there would be one student doing the work, and the rest would be watching. Chambers was on a mission to change the way students approached group science projects, and a technology based lab did just that.
The grand opening of the science lab was on May 16, but the students were already professionals when using the new technology. Adrianne Hays, Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) president of the school, said that it was, “great to see the students embracing the new technology, and not be afraid of it. They’ve grown up using similar stuff to what we’re implementing in the classroom. I think it helps keep them engaged.”
To Chambers, one of the most unique features of the classroom is the Bluetooth technology that uploads data and lab results instantly to student’s computers. The principal pushed for the new lab because during his time spent as an advanced placement physics teacher at Dothan High School, he noticed students not only needed to learn the basics of science, but also how to apply the skills they were learning in the classroom to the workforce and college programs.
Students like Quinn Debose and Madison Granberry agreed, saying the new lab was a much needed upgrade.
“It’s more involved. I feel like we’re actually learning stuff, not just sitting and listening someone talk about it. It’s more fun this way,” said Debose. Granberry said that she “love(s) the new lab because it teaches us skills we can use in real life.”
The lab was also equipped with a microscope that has the ability to live-stream images students and teachers see for the entire class to observe. “Instead of saying, ‘OK, class, do you see the blue thing?’ We can project that and everyone can be on the same page and see the same stuff,” said Chambers.
Seventh grade student Ian Bolinger was especially grateful for the new high-definition microscope. Science is Bolinger’s favorite class, and being able to use the new equipment to see what organisms were living in the pond water at the school has made his love for science reach new heights.
“There’s a lot of interacting and hands-on stuff. I like the new microscopes the most because there’s so much that you can see. Like here we’re looking at a paramecium. It’s cool that it projects onto the TV,” said Bolinger.
No one would ever guess that the science lab was once a home economics room. From ovens to frog dissection trays, the classroom was completely transformed, but it didn’t come cheap. The PTO raised $20,000 through a “Career-A-Thon” event, and Southern Nuclear donated another $5,200 toward the new equipment.
However, to Chambers, the PTO, teachers, and students alike, every penny was well spent. Chambers hopes that the new lab helps facilitate learning for science and general life skills, and is excited to see students engaged during the process.