2006-11-10 / Community

Public School 114 Hosts Rockaway Museum Presentation

Ex-teacher Steve Yaeger talks to the young PS 114 students. Ex-teacher Steve Yaeger talks to the young PS 114 students. Stephen Yaeger, a presenter for the Rockaway Museum, returned to PS 114 on October 24 to give another presentation to Mrs. Mangan's second grade classes on the skeleton, with his wife, Judy, joining him to snap some photographs.

As soon as the kids settled into their seats, Yaeger brought out his puppet friend, "Lester" who was supported by his hand. A question was put to the class asking what is supporting the puppet. The class rightfully answered that Yaeger's hand was doing the supporting. Then he removed his hand and Lester collapsed. At that point Yaeger explained that his hand was like Lester's skeleton, which aids in support and protection. Without a skeleton an animal would just collapse.

Using one of his favorite classroom tools, an overhead projector, Yaeger showed images of insects, a cat, a bird, a snail, a horseshoe crab and a boy, among others. The class was asked to identify which of the animals shown had skeletons. He explained, in simple terms, the difference between an insect's outside skeleton, an exoskeleton and our own inside skeleton, an endoskeleton. When Yaeger placed a diagram of a skeleton on the projector, there were a number of comments heard including "wow," "hey" and "awesome."

Students react to seeing "Lester," a skeleton that Yaeger used to demonstrate his lesson. Students react to seeing "Lester," a skeleton that Yaeger used to demonstrate his lesson. During the session one of the students called out and told Yaeger, "You're fun!" Another student recalled from the last time Yaeger was in the class, that another name for the horseshoe crab was King crab. Then another student said the scientific name of a horseshoe crab is Limulus polyphemus; pronouncing the words clearly.

Each student was given a handout of a skeleton diagram and the students were asked to label 10 bones using a list of names on the bottom of the paper. This was successfully done with the help of Mangan. The class was guided into drawing a simple skeleton holding a sign reading, "This is me."

Yaeger has been conducting presentations ever since he was asked to talk about whales for a fifth grade class at PS 114 about 25 years ago. At that time he was a member of the Department of Science and Oceanography at Beach Channel High School. Yaeger's presentations were successful and, when The Rockaway Museum wanted an education program, his program of combining science and drawing was adopted.

Students work on drawing their own skeletons. Students work on drawing their own skeletons. The presentations were also responsible for his monthly column in The Wave, "Drawing on Science."

For information on The Rockaway Museum's School Program, teachers and parents may call Susan Locke at (718) 634-4000 or contact Yaeger at Drawingonscience@aol.com.

The school program, funded by the Rockaway Museum, was a big hit with the students.  The school program, funded by the Rockaway Museum, was a big hit with the students.

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