This year, my 6th grade students have a unique opportunity. My students participated in the letters to a pre-scientist program while they were in 5th grade and many of them were able to keep their same penpals! Johanna Parker told me about this program last year and I could not wait for this year to begin so I could get my classroom involved.
In science classrooms throughout the country, there has been an emphasis on increasing student awareness of STEM careers. Often, it is easy to discuss these careers and believe that the students will become interested in them. However, when the students are in direct contact with the scientists, it makes the possibility of one day having a STEM career more realistic.
Many of my students have experienced letter opening day, but this day continues to be full of excitement each time. Each student had a letter to open from his/her penpal. They all had time to read their letters and share interesting information and/or trinkets that they received with the class. I was shocked by the generosity of our penpals….from stamps to stickers to lengthy letters, my students were showered with hospitality.
We just finished our unit on plants and we are starting to discover different biomes. The 6th graders should now be experts on all plant processes. We dissected seeds, observed bean plants germinate and experienced transpiration first hand. Now, we will be able to see how all of these plant processes are crucial for our environment. Every one of my 6th graders is excited to continue writing to their penpals!