Nov. 20, 2019 -- Public speaking can strike fear in the heart of any student. For the 6th through 8th graders in Dan Russell’s and Patti Smith’s self-contained special education classes at Monticello Middle School, public speaking can be especially challenging.
Dan Russell and Patti Smith try to incorporate meaningful opportunities for their students to practice speaking and presenting to strangers. The perfect opportunity arose when students traveled to Heights High to share their science fair projects with Marquiza Russell’s freshman seminar class.
The middle schoolers began their process by learning the
steps of the scientific method, and then brainstormed science-based questions
they were curious about. Students worked with partners to study everything from
testing if the nose can recognize certain smells, how adding juice to water
affects the rate at which it freezes, to whether all apples have the same
number of seeds.
After using the scientific method to conduct their research,
students prepared posters demonstrating their initial scientific questions,
experimental processes, and results. Finally, students prepared and practiced
their speeches to give to the high schoolers.
Ms.Russell’s high school students crafted questions for
their younger counterparts and evaluated their projects using a rubric. They
then fielded spontaneous questions that the middle school students had about high
Ms.Smith and Mr.Russell were “so impressed with how our
students did, getting in front of strangers and speaking clearly to present
their projects. Everyone did an outstanding job.”