California Educator

June/July 2020

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Imparting accurate information S T U D E N T S A R E P A Y I N G attention to the coronavirus, so Andrew Martinez makes the most of that in his biology lessons about the DNA and RNA of viruses. Large numbers of the Armijo High School science teacher's students tune in when he shares online videos about the coronavirus. "Students have so many questions about why this pandemic is happening," says Mar- tinez, a member of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified Teachers Association, who uses Twitch as a livestreaming platform for lessons on virology and the spread of pathogens. "By helping them understand how the coronavirus works, it helps them understand the necessity for social distancing and why it's relevant." Martinez knows that some of his students are traumatized by what is happening in the world, but doesn't want to shield them. "Access to accurate information helps put my students more at ease. In my classes, we acknowledge that the pandemic is terrible, but will not last forever." Student-created primary source documents M A D D I E T H O M P S O N , a student teacher who attends Humboldt State University, asks fourth graders to create journals with their thoughts, drawings and photos to document their experiences sheltering in place. "These are crazy times, but this is history," says Thompson, a former member of Student CTA's executive board, who is co-teaching with a veteran teacher in Humboldt County. "It's a way of letting kids know their writings will be considered primary sources years from now, when people read about what life was like during a pandemic. Reading about things like the shortage of toilet paper and social distancing will be an awesome keepsake for them to have as adults and share with their children someday." Andrew Martinez Maddie Thompson Science and the facts about COVID-19 D D I E C H A N G , biology and microbiology professor at Imperial Valley College, incorporates the coronavirus into virology lessons. He trained as a virologist at the University of Missouri and has worked in the defense and biotech industries. "In the past, HIV and flu viruses were my go-to viruses as classroom models," he says. "[Teaching the coronavirus] might make students feel stressed out, but it's relevant. They need accurate information because there's a lot of misinformation out there." Many of his students are planning on becoming nurses or entering other health care professions, so they are keenly interested in current events, says Chang, a member of the Imperial Valley College chapter of the Community College Association. "We are learning that viruses differ from other microorganisms, [which] are a lot like our cells, reproducing and getting energy from food when they're outside human bodies. Viruses are inert, laying on surfaces and doing nothing. But once they enter the body, they do what other organisms do." E Eddie Chang 30 feature C O V I D - 1 9

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