For the second year, UNMC’s Cytotechnology program was asked to teach 2nd graders about cells at Willa Cather Elementary School’s Core Academy Program. The Cytotechnology students loaded up microscopes, blank slides, jars of stain, crafting projects, and learning exercises for a day of fun at the elementary school.
The elementary students took samples of cells from their cheeks, smeared the cells onto glass slides, stained the slides, and then looked at their own cells under a microscope. The 2nd graders were also given the task of matching picture analogies with cellular counterparts as a fun way of learning how we describe different ways cells can look.
The cytotechnology students’ toolkit also contained a felt body with organs and pictures of cells taken from each of the organs. The elementary students were asked the function of each organ and were asked to place the organs on the felt body. Then they were given descriptions of the cells from the organs, and they had to find the one matching the description.
As a fun memento of our visit, the students made respiratory and liver cells out of crafting materials.
The elementary students had a wonderful time learning about cells. Here are some words taken from the thank-you letters the cytotechnology program received:
“When I saw my cells in the microscope I thought it was really cool.”
“I loved looking in the microscopes! I think that I will be a scientist when I grow up.”
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my own cells. I wish you and your students could come every day.”