Teachers use alternate resources for hands-on learning in this unique time

Allyson Jones, Staff Writer

Virtual learning has been difficult and is much more of a challenge with COVID-19 for standard classes such as math and English, but what about more hands-on classes, like ceramics, gym, or science?

Senior Amon Brown, a ceramics student, said, “ In ceramics were supposed to make objects out of clay but because of COVID-19, we obviously can’t do that anymore, so we’ve been making origami using paper and other material at home.”
Ceramics Teacher Samantha DiMeo said, “While virtually learning, students have been learning a variety of sculpture techniques. Our first unit has been paper. We have been learning about ways of attaching an origami. Next, I think we will start talking about recyclables (cardboard, plastic bottles, cans, newspapers, etc.).”
Mrs. DiMeo expressed how teaching virtually has been a big adjustment for her class.
“ I made the decision in August that students would not be learning ceramics online. There are too many factors even if everyone was able to get clay. Students have been learning about sculpture instead which gives them a similar hands-on experience. In the hybrid method, students who are coming into school will be working with clay in the building,” she explained.
Many teachers have changed what would be in-class activities to online activities.
Science Teacher Angela Ward has changed her approach to what would be in-class experiments to virtual experiments. Using an application called “Gizmo,” Mrs. Ward has been able to have students complete an electronical experiment with tomato seeds and see how certain variables affects the plant’s growth.
“Gizmos are a great resource to use for labs since we aren’t in the building. I feel the labs are valuable, but it just isn’t the same as doing a lab in-person. The Gizmo has animations to display what the physical experiment results would be,” she said
Mrs. Ward added, “Having students virtually has made it hard. I have spent time converting some of my labs that I use into virtual versions. I feel they were still beneficial… it’s very time-consuming.”
Other classes like physical education, where things are more difficult to do virtually, have also made arrangements and adjustments because of virtual learning.
Senior Camryn Barrow said, “For gym class, we take notes on different exercises, and towards the end of class we stretch. We still do Teams calls, and they usually last all mod.”