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Awesome Academics: Reptiles in Sciences Class
Awesome Academics: Reptiles in Sciences Class

December 08, 2014

Science is about curiosity and discovery. Students in David McLaughlin's The Sciences class-aimed at introducing a broad array of science topics to future educators-saw firsthand how science can come alive.

The class recently welcomed Tom Kessenich, a herpetologist with Snakes Alive-who was on campus for an event with the Student Activities Committee later in the day-to show off some of his reptilian friends. The students cheered and shrieked, petted and posed with an 8-year-old alligator, a Burmese python, a black and white tegu, a marine toad and a tarantula.

Gabby Van Nest, a senior early childhood education major from Western Springs, Ill., volunteered to let the tarantula crawl into her hands.

"It feels like a dog," said Van Nest afterward and spoke about the positives of having animals in class and how that experience can build interest in science.

"This brings in great interaction with the animals, but also with each other. When you bring something like this into the classroom, you not only learn about the animals, but you see how they react with people and how people react to them."

McLaughlin believes in providing his students with the kinds of experiences that will make them hits in the classroom, but also captivate them while at Susquehanna.

"They are all student teachers and we talk about how to take interactive experiences into the classroom," said McLaughlin , an assistant professor of education. "And there's a wow factor with this. The students will talk about this until they graduate."