Last year, the Imperial Valley Discovery Zone put on a program called “HSE” , or High School Explainers. Like the title implies, HSE allows high school students to explain science lessons to elementary school students that are not only fun for the elementary school students, but also for the high schoolers.
Mr. Gibbs, a science teacher and leader of HSE says, “Having HSE ensures that the district will get a certain minimum number of experiences with science in a way that is engaging.” Mr. Gibbs has started recruiting high school volunteers to teach lessons later this year and is looking for students who want experience and have the passion and patience to teach younger students.
Joash Ospino, a senior at IHS and a new recruit at HSE says, “I like helping people and talking to kids, and I thought that I could be helpful to HSE because I have a lot of experience helping kids at sunday school.”
Many other students like Ospino have chosen this year to join HSE to help science be taught to children at a younger age. Some of these students include Drew Devoy, a senior at Imperial High School and Madison Darr, a junior at Imperial High School.
Devoy says, “I would like to help out with the kids and teach them things that they might be missing out on.” Darr agreed, saying, “I chose to be a part of HSE because I want to give kids the opportunity that I didn’t have to learn science.”
Before HSE, many elementary school students rarely did science because CST testing was based completely on math and english, making it difficult for elementary school teachers to find time to teach other important subjects such as science.
This in turn creates difficulties for elementary school students when they try to understand science later on in high school and college. Gibbs says that the activities in HSE teach students not what to think, but how to think scientifically.
Jonas Bunda, a senior and HSE volunteer from last year says, “Seeing the reactions of the littles kids do the activities and find out why they were doing them was my favorite part of the process.”
Learning through HSE is completely different from learning in a math or english class and has allowed many elementary school students to understand how to learn science.
Elementary students aren’t the only ones getting a good experience out of HSE. Diego Jones, an Imperial High senior and a volunteer from HSE last year says, “The experience that I had was definitely helpful to me right now and will be a helpful experience to have for college applications.”
Bunda agreed that HSE was helpful to him saying that it gave him a greater tolerance for teaching kids.
“Through HSE high school students get experience in helping others and learn leadership skills and how other students learn,” said Gibbs.
Although it is a great opportunity, many high schools expect HSE to be a different experience than they usually face and may be difficult for them. Darr says, “I think that it will be challenging for me because I’ll be instructing for the first time.”
Jones also found some obstacles in HSE, “We spend at least six hours with the kids which is tiring because we need to remember what to say throughout the entire day.” Both Jones and Bunda agree that the experience is definitely worth the challenges and that they would recommend it to anyone considering joining.