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Cool at School: Vanderburg students learn science in biosphere | News

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Cool at School: Vanderburg students learn science in biosphere

HENDERSON, Nev. - The rainforest biosphere at Vanderburg Elementary School is a learning experience in which students become the teachers.

"It's a science-oriented facility. It's hands-on. It's visual. It's auditory. It covers the gamut of how you learn," said Biosphere Executive Director Barbara Simms.

Fifth-graders become guides, or docents. "It's a student who teaches about the rainforest," said docent Aidan Kelleher.

Passionate science students teach the younger kids.

"The most popular part is when we talk to them and read them stories and do puppet shows," said docent Jule Iurato.

"The picture of the frog sitting in the kid's lap, that's how big it is compared to a normal child," said docent Alex Humphrey.

"This portion of the tour is called the grow lab. Here we learn about different medicinal herbs and the properties of the fruits in the rainforest," said docent Julian Day.

The biosphere also has live animals. Docent Rianne Kirschner says she loves the live birds and learned they eat with their feet.

Docent Brinley Woodward, meanwhile, learned about snakes.

“The balloon viper has the longest fangs out of all the poisonous snakes," she said. “It is very dangerous.”

The same holds true for the dart frog.

"They're poisonous, and they use darts for blow guns," said docent Zachary Katz. “That one can actually kill four humans in about a minute."

The biosphere even has an archaeological dig site.

“(They'd) find a bone or a skull in here, and then they would measure it, and then they would draw the object on here and describe the object," said docent Ayano Hamajima.

"I love interacting with all the animals," said docent Carlie Prinster.

The best part for Simms is working with the kids.

"I've been teaching since I was 21, and that wasn't yesterday," she said.

The biosphere represents What's Cool at School.

If you wish to nominate a program for What's Cool at School, visit our website or e-mail us.

You can also vote for your favorite story featured on What's Cool at School. Each month, 8 News NOW will award $250 to the program that receives the most votes.


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