The email I was sent was one of those communiques that you cannot ignore:
I could not quite accommodate their every wish, but I asked Jane if she wanted me to do a Microbiology lesson for the class, including an experiment where they get to "grow their own germs" on agar plates.
Jane arranged some questions from the students, and it all started to come together:
I was blown away by the quality and wonder shown in these questions. It was going to take a while to prepare for this!! I prepared a simple PowerPoint which covered the main things I thought we should talk about, and included their questions, of course.
It is really hard to know how to gauge the level of preparedness and content that 8 year old students will require. I was so impressed with the quality of their original questions that I revisited my university textbooks and spent a bit of time on the internet, brushing up on my history of microbiology and finding some fun facts.
What I decided on was:
"Teach" about the size of "germs".
Address their questions.
Address the rest of their questions...and have a wee chat about personal hygiene.
The quality of the questions is what will stay with me for a long time. I was so worried about how I would teach Microbiology at Level 1-2 of the NZ Curriculum. What a naive concern! The questioning showed such a high level of wonder. The students themselves made links to their own lives. All I had to do was respect each and every student as an authentic part of the "lesson" and to value each and every contribution. You are never too young to ask; you are never too old to be amazed!