Thanks to a donation by the Williams College Center for Learning in Action, a class of fourth graders are learning about life cycles through BioEYES.

Fourth Graders Are Learning About Life Cycles through BioEYESAt Lanesborough Elementary School, students in Sean McDonald and Jenn Szymanski’s fourth grade classrooms have been studying genetics, animal science, and embryonic development right at their own desks.

The Williams College Center for Learning in Action has donated supplies and staff to operate the “BioEYES” program for six years.  The program was developed at the University of Pennsylvania, and is run in local schools.  Students learn about the life cycle using a relative of the minnow, the zebrafish.  The zebrafish breed quickly, and share about 70 percent of their genetic material with humans. Teachers find that they are great for introducing biology to young students.

The zebrafish breed and grow very quickly.  During a one week unit, students observe single cell embryos develop into larva which are free swimming and will become adult zebrafish. Williams donated the fish, microscopes and notebooks, as well as community volunteers

“We’re just so grateful to Williams so that we could have the materials and their expertise here,” Principal Martin McEvoy said.

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