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A Virtual Field Trip–A Look at Water

November 11, 2020 | Melissa McCallihan

Field trips have always been a big part of learning at Mustard Seed School. Taking students beyond the classroom into an immersive experience is one of the things I most enjoy about teaching at Mustard Seed School. I also love the camaraderie and community formed by the shared experience. Distance learning and virtual learning has made such an experience harder to come by. Recently though, students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades participated in a virtual learning field trip as a part of the Water Education Programs sponsored by SUEZ.

Our instructor, Andrea Potto, zoomed in and brought experiments and images to support the instruction. She also encouraged us to research further the organisms and ecosystems she was sharing with us. She started her talk using the Dead Sea and discussing density and buoyancy. She also shared about surface tension and we looked up the Jesus Lizard. She definitely peaked our curiosity. We ended the field trip discussing how much water we use when we shower. Personally, I was convicted to take shorter showers. I think some of the students were as well.

Additionally, the sixth grade took up the challenge to see how many paperclips a person could float on the surface of a cup of water. Others observed and tested the behavior of a drop of water.

So while most of the students stated later that they wished we could have gone to the water plant for the field trip, many agreed that shared experience was a good one.

Melissa McCallihan

Teacher, Grade 6; Science Grades 6-8

Teaching children to take risks and fail well is important to Melissa McCallihan, who has taught for over 29 years. She believes children learn as much through their failures as they do through their successes. She celebrates both in her classroom. In collaboration with the middle school director, art teacher, and other fourth and fifth grade teachers, Mrs. McCallihan has been instrumental in developing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program, an extension of the Lower School’s Shared Space model. “STEAM is where students solve problems and sometimes get it wrong,” says Mrs. McCallihan when asked about risks and failing well. “Students need to learn how to do that with grace, and to try again with grit and determination.”

Mrs. McCallihan cares deeply about relationships with her colleagues, students, and families. She works hard to make and maintain connections on a personal and professional level. And follows the mantra “Worship God, Love All.”

When not at school, you can find Mrs. McCallihan searching out a fantastic restaurant or hidden sight to see in New York City.

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