Middle school students see science in action thanks to MC biology students

April 11, 2002

Freshman biology majors at Maryville College are learning by teaching. They're not teaching peers, however. And the lesson plans aren't cellular ultrastructure or nuclear cell division.

As part of a service-learning requirement of Biology 115, freshmen are conducting scientific experiments and demonstrations for middle school students at Clover Hill Presbyterian Church and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Alcoa. Entitled "Fun with Science," the project began April 2 and concludes April 12 at the MLK Center (4 p.m.) and April 16 at Clover Hill Presbyterian (6:30 p.m.).

"Service-learning is a teaching tool where my college-level students instruct and guide younger students in hands-on scientific experiments or demonstrations," explained Swann, who teaches Biology 115. "My college-level students are tested on the science material afterward. We learn best when we teach, so that is the purpose in this activity.

"The younger students benefit by the exposure to hands-on science activities that often are not available to students in public schools because of the cost and time involved," she added. "Hopefully, the skills and concepts they learn in school are reinforced by our activities outside the classroom."

During recent Tuesday and Friday gatherings, young students have been exploring the mysteries of owl pellets, car emissions, the physical science of water, water quality and sensory systems.

"We hope these are fun, informative activities," Swann said.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2014 semester is 1,213.