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Engaging with Experts

Engaging with Experts
Coral Balubar

Engaging experts to share their knowledge and passion with our students is an invaluable approach to learning. Recently, our first and second graders had the incredible opportunity to learn firsthand from experts in two vastly different fields: volcanology and cultural traditions. These experiences not only enriched their understanding of the world around them but also ignited a spark for learning that is lasting and meaningful.

Our inquiry journey into the fascinating world of volcanoes was made even more exciting by a visit from two “real-life” University of HawaiĘ»i volcanologists who shared their expertise and experiences with our students. Through the volcanologists’ engaging presentation, as well as the thrilling variety of artifacts they provided, our young learners delved deep into the science behind volcanic eruptions, the formation of lava, and the impact of volcanic activity on the environment and communities. The children were able to gather information about everything from the different types of volcanoes (shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, dome volcanoes, cinder cone volcanoes) to the variety of characteristics of different lava–especially ones that are aptly named like Pele’s hair and pahoehoe toes!




Witnessing the passion and dedication of these experts not only made the subject come alive but also inspired our students to ask questions, explore further, and develop a deeper appreciation for the natural world. This week, we had the pleasure of celebrating the Indian festival of colors, Holi, with a special visit from E.P.’s mom and a presentation from E.P., who both shared Holi cultural traditions and experiences. Holi marks the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. Participants gleefully throw colored powders and colored water at each other and indulge in festive foods, fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie.

After learning about the significance of Holi, the children were then able to experience first-hand! They enjoyed a sweet treat of Jalebi (similar to a donut) before letting loose with color! The joy was truly palpable as plain white shirts turned all colors of the rainbow and blank canvases took on the life and vibrancy of color! Learning from members of our own community not only fostered a sense of cultural appreciation and understanding but also reinforced the importance of coming together.



These experiences underscore the importance of learning from experts in cultivating authentic, meaningful, and engaging educational experiences for our students. By providing opportunities for our children to learn from professionals and community members, we not only enhance their academic knowledge but also instill a lifelong love of learning. As we continue on our educational journey together, let us embrace the richness of learning from experts and celebrate the diverse perspectives that enrich our classroom community.

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