This post is part of a series on a Science Camp in Taiwan for Students with Visual Impairments. Perkins Science teacher, Kate Fraser, shares her experiences of the camp. Click here to read Part 1.
It was early Monday morning and the campus was filled with the sounds of children having mobility lessons to prepare them to travel independently to classes during a full week program. Following the lesson, the teaching assistants wearing blue T shirts accompanied the students, all dressed in yellow T shirts to the first class of the day. Classes are planned for each group depending on the students' grade, the first to fourth graders together, the fifth and sixth graders, junior high school and then high school.
This morning I chose to join a high school class for a hands on class in plant evolution taught by a professor of biology. There were 12 students with a teaching assistant for each group of three. After examining the pea pods, the students split open the pods and observed the seeds inside. Some students used their fingers to gently feel the construction of the pod, others use lighted magnifies to examine the peas. After the teacher handed out models of leaves she explained how in ancient times seeds were not protected by pods, and the students used the leaf models tactually create the transition from a kind of leaf with unprotected seeds to a curved pod for sheltering the seeds!
Lunch was served outside, overlooking some banana trees, but most of the teachers and students retreated to the air conditioned classrooms as the temperature exceeded 90 degrees F.
In the afternoon, it was time for a double period of geometry with a teacher from a local public school. In this class, using hands-on models the teachers helped the students understand how triangles could become 3 dimensional shapes. Using a variety of tactile materials, the students progressed from constructing triangles to building polyhedrons. The students enjoyed showing me how to build some of the shapes as I found this series of activities to be quite challenging!
Other classes during the day included physical education and other science and math activities!
After a very full day, students boarded buses to return to their dormitories. If they came from a distance to be at the camp, these students planned to stay overnight all week. Other students returned to their homes in the local area of west central Taiwan.