The high school students at JBS have been enjoying a challenging year with new instructor, Mr. Simeon Brace. The freshman class has been involved in an intensive study of coal, covering topics such as how coal is formed; current procedures for mining, refining, and processing coal; and the future of the coal industry. Students have even changed coal to gas during a recent lab activity. This unit has not only helped prepare students for college, but also has made them aware of great opportunities in their home towns for lab research and engineering.
Senior science students, along with a few select junior students, are studying the nervous system in anatomy. Students have participated in labs such as viewing nerves and related tissues under a microscope, testing reflexes, and dissecting a sheep brain. During this unit, students have also been focusing on the adverse effects that various illegal drugs (specifically marijuana and methamphetamines) have on the brain. “Learning about the nervous system presents many questions unknown by modern science and gives students a great opportunity to voice their own ideas and opinions, which gives them ownership in what they are studying,” says Brace.
Rachael White, a senior at JBS who is also enrolled in a college level Biology course, stated that, “On many occasions, I find myself referring back to knowledge I have learned through my high school science classes at the June Buchanan School.” The JBS Science Department wants each student to learn and retain as much as possible, and the best way to accomplish both of these goals is through hands-on activities. Mr. Brace stated that “Hands-on activities connect words in the text book to reality,” and once that connection has been established, students thrive in the classroom.