Blog and photos by Liliana Caughman, SPP Lecture Series Program Coordinator
Last month the SPP Science and Sustainability Lecture Series held its first ever lecture at the Special Offenders Unit (SOU) at Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC).
This lecture, led by our amazingly talented Frog and Turtle Program Coordinator Sadie Gilliom, proved to be one of the most interactive and fun lectures of all time.
The audience was lively but respectful. They were eager to learn more and more about the “Amazing World of Amphibians”.
At least one of the students who attended the lecture is hearing impaired, so we had the added pleasure of seeing the lecture interpreted through sign language.
Watching the stories about amphibians come to life through movement made the presentation even more captivating and stimulating.
The students were particularly enthralled by a story in which Sadie was bitten by an amphibian! Many were shocked to learn that the critters have small sandpaper-like teeth.
Sadie offered multiple hands-on activities, and the students were able to engage with the sights and sounds of amphibians, while also learning a bit about their role in ecology.
In one activity the students were each given two papers. On command they all raised sheet no. 1 into the air and looked around the classroom. There was a plethora of beautiful and highly varied species of amphibians.
Then they were instructed to hold up sheet no. 2 and look around. It was only bullfrogs. This helped students conceptualize the importance of biodiversity.
Next the students worked on matching pictures of fully grown amphibians to images of their egg masses. This was an exploratory way to learn about the life cycle of these fascinating creatures.
The lecture ended with an activity in which Sadie played audio sounds of different amphibian’s calls and the class tried to identify which species it belonged to. It was impressive how well some of the students did on this and we learned that they can often hear frogs chirping from a nearby wetland.
It was a thrilling and inspiring day of learning. After being unsure of the reception we’d find in the Special Offenders Unit, we were delighted to discover one of the best lecture audiences we have had. We here at SPP, as well as MCC staff and students, are all looking forward to the next one.