A Deeper "Dive" Into Science with Endicott College
How many chambers are there in a fish heart? What are the differences between a dog’s heart and a salamander’s? On Valentine’s Day last week, GUS fourth graders, teachers, and chaperones traveled to Endicott College (just around the corner in Beverly Farms!) to learn more about hearts—just not the candy kind!–and adaptations in nature.
As part of an ongoing collaboration with GUS dad Dr. Bram Lutton P ‘22, and Endicott College, fourth graders have added even more opportunities for inquiry-based learning to their year-long thematic study of The Sea. Professor Lutton, an Associate Professor of Biotechnology at Endicott, recently visited with students to provide a hands-on demonstration of how evolution has affected finches on the Galapagos Islands. To prepare for this lesson, Dr. Lutton first met with teachers Ms. Doyle and Ms. Zaval to discuss the GUS animal classification curriculum and thematic connections. He then devised classroom experiments to illustrate the effectiveness of different beaks for food gathering. Using various types of food, and kitchen implements representing beaks, fourth graders observed how the shape of bird beaks are adapted over time. Students gained an understanding of the environmental forces that can slowly change species over time.
Last week GUS fourth graders were welcomed to the Ginger Judge Science Center at Endicott College, a state-of-the-art classroom and laboratory learning space focused on interdisciplinary collaborations between science and business. Students worked in small groups to more fully understand the cardiovascular system and how it has evolved in animals. Lab stations set-up for the GUS student “scientists” included invertebrate and vertebrate dissections for examination of worms, squid, crayfish, sharks, frogs, and sheep, and mammal heart models. Endicott student leaders also demonstrated a leading-edge Anatomage Table that utilizes 3D rendering to simulate dissection and allows for realistic anatomy visualization.
Next up for GUS fourth graders? They’ll use their newly-gained laboratory skills to perform a full dissection of a fish! Students will then continue to study these cold-blooded vertebrates and design their own “fish” that feature characteristics conducive to thriving in a specific marine environment. Shares fourth grade teacher Ms. Zaval, “GUS grade four and Professor Lutton are hoping to continue this learning partnership for years to come!” Thank you to Dr. Lutton and the Endicott College community for expanding students’ and teachers’ educational resources and opportunities.