Fremont, CA — On April 13, 2016, Junior Medical Academy continued its sessions at Green Elementary School after relocating from the library. With an attendance of roughly 40 students, JMA co-founders, Reetam Ganguli and Tianhui (Lily) Yang, along with various other volunteers from Irvington High School spent ten weeks teaching and working with students 4th-6th grade in a science lab offered by the school under the supervision of Mrs. Rice, a fifth grade Green Elementary teacher. After carrying through the nine main lessons, JMA ended the ten weeks with a biology mini-fair that incorporated different activity stations to ensure knowledge retention and a memorable last day. Many students demonstrated their growth through competition and group work at each station.
Split off into division A and B based on age, the groups were then further divided into teams of roughly eight. Five main stations were set up to cohesively review all the topics taught. For instance, in some stations, teams within the same division competed against each other as team members cooperated to draw diagrams, decorate their drawings, and list many examples of macromolecules together as fast as possible. In other stations, the activities were far more dynamic like the relay race. Team members would run across the basketball courts and compete to determine which team can not only answer questions correctly, but also recall the information the fastest. Furthermore, examples of problem solving stations included the biology simulation station in which the instructor poses a situation dealing with a disease, and the students work together to figure out what the disease is caused by and how to approach a solution for it. The teams alternated between stations, so that all teams are able to experience all the activities.
While the stations were in action, many students that started out with little to no biology knowledge demonstrated their progress as they were able to correctly answer questions, diagnose possible causes for the given effects, remember diagrams that were taught throughout the year, and make thoughtful analogies themselves. To reward the winning teams, small items like rubber ducks and stuffed animals were given; and to recognize the effort and growth of all attending students, cookies were distributed to everyone.
Overall, JMA provides its sincere thanks to Green Elementary for hosting the classes and lending JMA their projector, supplies, and access to the science lab. Special thanks to Mrs. Rice and Principal Lee for dedicating their time to make JMA at Green Elementary possible. JMA hopes to continue working with Green Elementary in the future and seeing even more positive results and students gaining interest in STEM.