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Cherokee sixth-graders use games to learn about energy

By Kaitlin Keane

Science is not some students’ favorite subject during the day.


The laughter heard from one Cherokee Middle School classroom would make one think otherwise.

Nathan Shell’s sixth-grade science class created games in the style of “Minute-to-Win-It” as another way to learn about how energy is transformed.

“This is a fun and different way of learning instead of sitting in our seats,” Shell said.

“We are up and moving.”

From marshmallows being shot across the room to doing wacky moves while tossing cards into a bucket, students were actively learning.

Shell found this as a way to reinforce the energy unit.

The games’ overall goal was for the students to figure out different energy transformations.

In addition to group work, students worked on their presentation skills and were able to add a creative aspect to science.

Ryan Bailey talked about his project, “Whack a Balloon,” which requires students to keep three balloons in the air for one minute using only two pencils.

The goal was to try and keep the balloons from touching the floor while at the same time representing how gravitational potential energy transforms into some sort of kinetic energy.

“It was fun, because I  never made a game before,” Bailey said, “nothing to do with a project for school.”

Shell said he felt like he needed to step up his game after receiving his TCAP scores last year.  

His personal scores in the energy unit had the least movement of gain from the year before.

“I think this year when they are taking their test, I hope they remember these games more than if we had just lectured,” Shell said.

Shell’s efforts are definitely not going unnoticed.

Bailey expressed how if he is just told something then it is not interesting to him.

“But if you get to do something or have a demonstration, then it
is interesting,” Bailey said.

Along with being a “fun” teacher who doesn’t hand out a lot of homework, Bailey added that Shell incorporates different little games into daily learning, too.

“In the end, I’m glad to see different kids getting excited about science,” Shell said.

“And we are constantly striving for that.”