While on nature walks, the class talked about history, Guilford’s involvement with the Underground Railroad, and other unique places in the Woods. In the lab, students performed tests on samples ranging from their own teeth to specimens brought in from nature walks with Bryan. They also viewed and discussed movies addressing plants, bacteria, and medicine, including Contagion and The Happening.
“I love that we were able to do macro- and microbiology. I was out in the woods, looking at plants, mosses, trees, etc., and Melanie was doing microbiology in the lab. You're giving them this big view of life and teaching them to be an active observer. I love that so much,” Bryan says.
Tying in the importance of handwashing during the pandemic and having a little fun, students were tasked with putting their hand in a Dumpster. They first tested for a baseline of microorganisms, and then they practiced various handwashing techniques to determine which were most effective at expelling bacteria.
“We saw a lot of them grow so greatly. We did see a lot of them change over the three weeks,” Melanie says. “I'm really glad we did it in person, too. They needed interaction with us more than just on a screen. I think it meant a whole lot more.”