- Associated Press - Saturday, November 14, 2015

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) - Two dozen fifth-graders from Baldwin Intermediate School got a chance to rub elbows Tuesday with some of the big kids at Quincy High School.

But the close encounter in Karissa Ham’s anatomy/physiology class didn’t just stop at the elbow. The high schoolers and intermediate schoolers also compared notes about collar bones, fibulas, tibias, clavicles, tarsals and other bones found in the human body.

It was all part of an educational excursion designed to give Baldwin students — who have adopted the theme “Blue Devil Bound” — an opportunity to get a sneak peek at what high school is all about.

The 24 students from Katie Holbrook’s accelerated fifth-grade class at Baldwin South spent about an hour in Ham’s classroom, where 14 of Ham’s teenage students served as enthusiastic mentors while helping the fifth-graders learn about bones.

According to Holbrook, she wanted to focus the day’s lesson on bones for two reasons:

One: Halloween is coming up Saturday, and skeletons are cool.

Two: Holbrook’s students will soon be doing a unit on the human body, so it might be helpful to let them see how the topic is covered at QHS.

“Hopefully they’ll get to see connections between what we’re doing at Baldwin and what goes on here,” Holbrook said.

Ham and her students opened the class by telling the Baldwin students about the 206 bones found in the human body. Ham’s students also talked about other parts of the body they’ve been studying.

At one point, the Baldwin students were asked to name the various organs protected by the body’s skeleton. All but one of the essential organs were mentioned when Holbrook offered a hint to one of her male students.

“You have one that’s enlarged,” she whispered.

“Oh, yeah,” the boy proclaimed. “Spleen!”

Ham had the students work in small groups so the high schoolers could help the fifth-graders put together paper skeletons. The older students patiently identified each bone as it was fitted into position.

“You’ve got to name him,” Ham told Logan Stephenson as his boy-sized skeleton was being stapled together.

Logan didn’t hesitate announcing his decision: “Skeletron,” he said, beaming, while a high school boy gave him thumbs-up approval.

Younger and older students both felt they gained something from the experience.

Maddison Garner, a QHS senior, said she was glad to have the fifth-graders come to her anatomy/physiology class.

“I think it’s a great thing,” she said. “I love hanging out with kids, and I love teaching kids. Honestly, I think it helps us learn because when we teach this to someone else, we also learn while we’re teaching.”

Lexi Mero, 11, said she found it helpful to attend a top-level science class at QHS.

“It’s really fun to come here, because it gives us an idea of what we would do when we’re in high school,” she said. “It also gives the high school kids a chance to learn more by teaching us.”

Ham said she likes seeing younger students mix it up with older students on occasion.

“I think it’s great because it lessens their fear of coming to high school, and it gives them someone to look up to a little bit,” she said. “It also introduces them to science in a different way and makes them want to pursue it when they come to high school.”

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Source: Quincy Herald-Whig, https://bit.ly/1XGaFNe

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Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, https://www.whig.com

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