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Nov. 03, 2010

Student Reflections on ISME (Intensive Science and Mathematics Experience)

by Guest Blogger

By Jennifer Zavala, ISME Student
High School Sophomore, Chicago Public Schools

Over the past year, ACI/ISME has equipped us with knowledge and experience only a few others share. Through ACI/ISME we have achieved a step on a ladder that allows us to stand out in the midst of our future competitors, even in the classroom. There is a vast sense of pride in class when we are asked “what did you do this summer?” The truth is, because of ISME, the question should really be “what did you not do this summer?”

Teachers sport an astounded expression whenever they receive the answers to that question from anyone who is part of ISME -- especially when teachers uncover that we are sophomores who have already earned a college credit.

Through ACI/ISME we have gained more credit then just a college credit. We also earned the credit we get from our new teachers; their impressions are more positive and their expectations of us are higher because of our involvement with the program. They expect us to set the bar high and that is an immense job -- a job that ACI/ISME has prepared us to take on, to be leaders in the class and not just faces in a crowded classroom.

From watching video clips of Bill Nye the Science Guy, to walking in a creek against the small current with boots knee high, the experiences of Science Saturdays are becoming more and more useful in science classes such as biology. The lessons we learned play a role in the way we now move through experiments in class. Habits, techniques, and facts are leaving those Science Saturdays and moving with us into the classroom.

The most interesting Science Saturday yet was the day we went in the creek to look for invertebrates. It was a day to remember. It was one of the coldest Saturdays in October and we walked into a creek with our nets, cautious not to slip among the rocks. We captured a crawfish that we named “Forest.” Invertebrates are not attractive creatures, and, under a microscope, the crawfish's repulsiveness was only magnified. Personally, the Monday after our field trip, I got to inform my biology teacher that I had actually come to use the microscope we had been studying in class.

The Summer Academy we attended last July was the most gratifying experience of ACI/ISME. All year we awaited the week we would stay in a dorm unaccompanied by parents, but watched by our coaches and dorm advisors. We took a course in either criminal justice or Latin American history. As one of the students in the Latin American course, I can say that course was amazing. The teacher made the class interesting. He was so interesting that even as we walked into the class sleep deprived, we were awake and interested in the topic of discussion. I feel I left the class highly educated in Latin American history and it somewhat blended into this year's history class (United States studies) and definitely merged into Spanish class. The summer academy was one of my personal favorites.
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Keep visiting this blog to see what other ISME students have to say about their personal pursuit of a science-based education.

Read an introduction to ISME at
http://www.talkingscience.org/2010/10/welcome-isme-student-bloggers/

About Guest Blogger

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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