Students Teaching Students

Filed under: Schools |

A student demonstrating understanding by teaching a peer could be considered the highest form of learning, and that’s exactly what was seen at the Brandenburg Intermediate/Duncanville High School field trip to Waterview Park on November 3. Hands-on learning lessons were completely conducted by DHS students under the direction of senior Kwesi Fuller. The third outing of its kind since 2010, Fuller hopes to bring Duncanville High School’s Portable Engineering Lab (PEL) to several other schools during the 2011-12 school year.

Starting off as a show-and-tell of what younger students could look forward to learning at DHS, the PEL now benefits both the high school students who run it and the intermediate and middle school students it’s designed to teach. Kwesi was given control in 2010 as a test by instructor Bart Burnett. “He said that I had showed good management skills, and that if the initial Brandenburg mission was a success, I could continue to lead the PELs,” Fuller explained.

In Fall 2010, DHS students helped their intermediate peers collect and analyze soil and water samples, conduct a general survey of the land, and plot GPS locations to create a map of Waterview Park. They worked with Brandenburg science teacher Taryn Goulding to make sure that students were also learning their required science TEKS. “Our goal is to get students excited to learn and to provide them with unique and interesting learning experiences,” explained Kwesi. “I see this as my opportunity to change lives and to make a difference.” Once current drought conditions are over, Brandenburg and DHS students will partner with the Keep Duncanville Beautiful organization to plant trees at the park, using their research as a guide to the best planting spots. “Twenty years from now, I hope I can look back and say that Waterview Park and Duncanville High School look the way they do partially because of me,” added Fuller.

Several DHS organizations also volunteer to help with PELs, seeking the same opportunity to make a difference. Approximately forty students led the most recent mission, including some from HOSA and Cosmetology. Kwesi divided them into teams based on their strengths and weaknesses and let them design their own lessons for the younger students. With the added goal of improving Brandenburg’s math and science test scores, he gave each of them a copy of the science TEKs in addition to math and history TEKS and common vocabulary terms. “DHS Engineering is held to a certain standard of quality, and I aim to uphold that,” said Fuller. “We often draw on every subject of learning to complete a task, so that’s what I want to teach students. Education is the most important thing – I don’t want them to take it for granted.”

But while teaching others, Kwesi admits that he is learning himself. “I’m gaining a better understanding of how people operate, and becoming a better leader.” He plans to attend Texas A&M University and major in mechanical or industrial engineering, and to one day hold a management position.