Golden Apple: Bemidji MS Teacher Concocts a Mixture of Science and Halloween
Who said going to school on Halloween couldn’t be fun? Bemidji Middle School science teacher Denise Black enjoys the idea of being able to incorporate a Halloween theme while teaching her students about liquid nitrogen.
“A few years ago, I decided that since 8th graders still really love Halloween a lot more than adults think, and we sometimes don’t let them explore all of their early childhood needs. I thought that I would take a chance and take my astronomy unit and mix it in with Halloween. So what I do is I take liquid nitrogen and I teach them all the important factors about it, everything from safety to where it comes from, and then we have a little fun,” said Black.
While students are having fun enjoying the many activities Black has planned for the class period, they are still learning and comprehending what is being taught. According to Black, this type of approach allows students to understand the material better and quicker.
“Plus it ties into our Minnesota state standards so we’re working on things like stars and where they come from. What happens to them when they basically blow up, which kids think are awesome, but where do all those particles go? So I’m able to tie in a theme of Halloween with learning things that we would do in an everyday classroom,” stated Black.
The exercise was taught to all of Black’s class periods, and students were able to see what liquid nitrogen can do with different activities, as well as try certain foods and make ice cream.
Lauren, a Bemidji Middle School student, says, “We did stuff with liquid nitrogen and we learned where it came from and did some activities with it. It was really cool because it was different and it was really exciting because we got to try a lot of new things and learn a lot about it, it was really cool.”
“This just gives every kid an opportunity to experience something that they normally wouldn’t. Liquid nitrogen is not something that’s readily available, I go get it from Bemidji Welders Supply and it’s really not that expensive, but kids really learn a lot from the whole day when we talk about where it comes from, how it gets into the classroom, and they actually get to touch a little bit of it,” stated Black.
Black has been incorporating the Halloween theme into her lessons for a few years now and has heard and experienced firsthand how it positively affects her students. She’s proud to be able to provide a different outlook on learning and looks forward for future Halloween-themed lessons.