It’s never good to keep up with the Joneses but when it comes to education keeping up and going beyond is always a good.
For these reasons and due to state requirements, Cleveland Central High School added seven science courses to its curriculum this year.
"For the 2018-2019 school year, Mississippi will move to the Mississippi College- and Career-Readiness Standards for Science. With this move, some classes have been removed from the curriculum while others were added or emphasized.
“When preparing for this school year, the science department looked at the upcoming change to the curriculum and evaluated what classes we felt like would most benefit our students as they prepared for college,” said Sarah Williford, a science teacher at CCHS.
“We have introduced Zoology I and Zoology II, Earth and Space Science, Botany, Environmental Science, Genetics and Foundations of Science Literacy to our science department," added Williford.
This semester Williford is teaching Zoology I and II, as well as Learning Strategies: Science. In the spring, she will teach Botany, Environmental Science, and Foundations of Biology.
Williford said her students are excited to see new classes worked into the curriculum, and believes the new courses give students the freedom to discover areas of science that fits their interest.
In zoology courses, students have done a number of hands-on activities, such as modeled body structure of different organisms, compared the absorbency of natural sponges to artificial sponges, and observed earthworms and looked at how they use their senses without have sense organs.
In the spring, her botany class will build plant models, as well as discovering how plants adapt to their environment and how they are important to humans.
“I also plan to tie a piece of our curriculum into farming, since it is so important to the livelihood of the Delta,” said Williford. “I want to teach our students the current technologies that are being applied and developed in the farming industry to possibly open another career pathway for them.”
In Williford’s environmental science class, she said students will examine the impact of humans on the environment by studying global climate change and renewable and nonrenewable resources.
“I am hoping that through this course student will make changes in their daily lives to help better the environment,” said Williford.
Connie Sterling is the genetics and foundations of science literacy teacher at CCHS.
“Gentetics is designed to educate student about inheritance patterns, birth defects, cellular biology and biotechnology in helping them to prepare for college,” said Sterling.
“(While) foundations of science literacy is designed to educate student to analyze, interpret, infer, and extrapolate data in helping to prepare them for the ACT.”
In her genetics course, students are “analyzing genetic problem-solving on the different inheritance patterns in humans,” and have “researched many genetic mutations and chromosomal abnormalities which result in birth defects.”
While her foundation of science literacy is reading “Prey” by Michael Crichton as well as writing lab reports.
Earth and Space Science is taught by Jeanne Miller, which examines the relationship between living organisms, land, atmosphere and the oceans.
In a few weeks, she has a field trip planned to Mississippi State University to participate in a fossil dig, as well as tour of the Dunn-Seller Earth Science Museum and the Cobb Archaeology Museum.
She also said students will enter the Science Olympiad and compete with other schools.
“These challenging and motivational events are balanced between the various science disciplines of biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers and technology,” said Miller.
Another competition her students will participate in is bridge building.
She, along with Margaret Smith-Black, the dual credit Biology Human A&P and physical science teacher, will have their classes construct bridge models out of balsa wood for the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s annual Bridge Builder’s Competition in the spring.
Although biology and physical science are not new courses in the Cleveland School District, Smith-Black said students now have access to the science labs at Delta State University.
“(The students) have really enjoyed going to Delta State and doing labs in a lab that is state-of-the-art,” said Smith-Black.
She said the students will use the lab to dissect animal’s likes cats, pigs and rats and study their specific body parts such as their brains, eyeballs, and hearts.
She said she hopes her students foster a passion for learning new things.
“I saw a quote one time that said, in science, we can inspire something, every discovery, however small is a permanent gain,” added Smith-Black. “Every new thing learned no matter how small is a win in education.”