2006-10-06 / Community

Museum School Programs Off To Fast Start

The Rockaway Museum's School Program got off to a fast start on Thursday, September 28, according to Stephen Yaeger, local artist, author and teacher, who gave one of his popular school presentations to Frances Mangan's first grade class at PS 114.

Upon entering the classroom Yaeger says that he saw that the students were busy doing something with balloons. He asked one of the kids what they were doing and was told they were pasting "continents" on balloons, which represented the earth. The boy then proudly pointed to each one of his continents and named it.

Once the projects were put away. Mangan had the kids take their respective chairs and Yaeger introduced himself. He told the class that he would talk about seashells and then have a drawing lesson.

Yaeger showed the class examples of many shells. He named them and explained how the animals lived. A number of the kids were able to identify some the shells before Yaeger named them. He then showed the class a horseshoe crab, which one student said cleans the ocean. Yaeger confirmed this saying that it is a scavenger feeding on food that lies on the ocean floor. He also explained the animal's importance to medicine. The class was very enthusiastic and was loaded with comments and questions.

When the shells were put away the kids were given paper and pencil. Yaeger, using the dry marker board, proceeded to guide the kids in drawing a cartoon animal. He told them that they may even identify the animal before it was finished. Some students soon said it was a cat and when a mane was added they yelled, "It's a lion!" A body, legs and tail were added and the drawing was completed. Yaeger had each artist sign his/ her name to the drawing.

Before leaving the class Yaeger thanked the kids and then gave them one last bit of information: the scientific name of the horseshoe crab, Merostomata.

He had them pronounce the name, which they did laughing. Before leaving they asked him to return for another presentation to which he replied, "Yes."

For information on programs, teachers may contact The Museum's School Program at 718-634-4000.

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