Students in Brianne Gunn’s classroom became local television stars last month when they were featured on Richmond’s “Virginia Currents” magazine show.
Gunn, who attended the VISTA Elementary Science Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University last summer, led her students on a problem-based learning unit using the strategies she learned at the institute.
She said one of the biggest things she realized from using problem-based learning was “We should let them talk more.” Helping students learn to think like scientists involves letting them talk through the problems and work out solutions on their own, instead of sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher talk, she said.
The students at Falling Creek Middle School also participated in a clean-up project for the watershed around the school. James River Association sponsored awarded a grant to fund a habitat garden that also improved the water run-off into the local reservoir.
One of the students in the segment likened hands-on learning to “going on a road trip, you’re going to remember that better than if you stay home and watch something about a road trip.”
“Virginia Currents” airs on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. on WCVE HDTV, with a repeat on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 11:30 p.m. The channel is part of the Community Idea Stations, which incorporates stations WCVE, WCVW and WHTJ, ranging as far east as Middlesex County and as far west as Rockbridge County. The series is hosted by Daphne Maxwell Reid, who called VISTA a “catalyst for change.”
When asked about her mission as a teacher, Gunn said “to open their minds and make them think. Because that’s what we need. Problem solvers.” Well said!