Every year, Adrian College students have the opportunity to visit the Blissfield Environmental Life Lab (BELL) to learn how to integrate science, math, and art under the guidance of Mr. Gary Koppelman.
Mr. Gary Koppelman is the 2013 Awardee of the Shell National Science Teaching Award managed by the National Science Teachers Association.
The BELL is an arboretum and terrarium, furnished with various habitats and biomes for observation and experimentation, allowing the entire district to use as an extended classroom. A 1500-gallon freshwater stream/pond, butterfly house, 1500-gallon saltwater ecosystem, bird aviary, herpetile area, and incredible invertebrate zoo provide habitats and various biomes and ecosystems that offer areas to study throughout the school year. To learn more about the BELL, please visit their website.
Blissfield students are now doing experiments and obtaining knowledge as they make predictions about life science and our environment. Knowledge is deeply set as children invest part of themselves in exploring plants, animals, or various habitats found within the climatically controlled greenhouse.
Comments from Adrian College Students about Mr. Koppelman and the B.E.L.L.:
“I thought the trip to the BELL was extremely beneficial! I learned so much and was completely inspired. What can take place at the BELL is amazing and such a great experience for kids. While, I may not have my own life lab one day, his [Mr. Koppelman] classroom was even inspirational. The decorations and setup really motivated students to learn and the focus and math and science.”
“Going to the BELL, was a great experience that I will always remember. It was actually my second time there yet I still found it just as exciting as the first time I had been there. Mr. Koppelman really showed his love for teaching and science; the drive that he possessed to conquer his goal of the BELL was really shown. His passion for teaching is one that everyone in the teaching field should have; I hope that one day I can contribute to the students and community as much as he has.”
“The trip to the BELL was a great learning experience! Not only did I learn a lot myself, I learned how I can make science and math engaging subjects by making them fun to learn for all students. I really enjoyed learning all the hands on activities that I could do with students, including how to make the small booklets. I was very impressed by Mr. Koppelman and how he motivates his students to learn and the learning environment that he had created for them. I hope to include some of his techniques into my classroom someday!”
“The Bell experience was very exciting! It was nice seeing the lab and getting information about what it is like to start something big. I thought it was very useful being able to hear his [Mr. Koppelman] advice. It is useful hearing what other teachers do because someday I could use their advice to become a great teacher!”
“The BELL is an amazing resource to the community. It is a wonderful experience for the students to have as well. I would have loved to have a place where I could learn about science while doing it. I think that it connects really well with what we learn with hands on- minds on.”
“The Bell Lab was the coolest thing I have seen in an elementary school. I loved hearing about how enthusiastic and caring the teacher [Mr. Koppelman] was. His classroom looked very fun and was inviting to me even though I will never be in his class. The lab was awesome and it is so nice that the students have the ability to work and learn in the lab. I learned so many things from the two hours I was there. I think this experience sparked our imaginations at least a little but for me it was a lot.”
“Going to the BELL was a great experience. Most of the time I stood there looking astonished at all Mr. Koppelman was able to do. Going to the BELL and seeing this lab and classroom made me want to teach. It made me see that there are endless possibilities and creative ways to teach students that they will enjoy. I felt very inspired by this trip and hope to have a classroom environment as enjoyable and stimulating as his.”
“The BELL Lab was an amazing experience. When I walked into his [Mr. Koppelman] classroom it was like I was a kid in a candy store. I loved everything about his room. I would love to have a room like that. He was able to explain to us how he runs his classroom and how he uses the BELL Lab to help the students learn. I am just amazed at how much the BELL Lab has to offer. I feel that the students learn so much from the Lab. They are able to experiment and see what they are learning. I feel that this is an amazing thing for the students and I feel that every student should be able to have these experiences.”
“Our field trip to the BELL was a lot of fun! Mr.Koppelman was very informative, and cleared had a passion for the BELL, along with science and math education. His classroom was really cool! I loved how he was able to utilize just about every part of the classroom and use it as a teaching moment. It was very motivating, and I can only hope I can make an impact on my future students just as Mr.Koppelman is doing for his.”
“I learned a lot of things and had a lot of fun at BELL. I was not only was the bio-dome extremely impressive, but his [Mr. Koppelman] classroom was amazing. I couldn’t believe how creative he was! His classroom and ideas motivated me more than I could imagine. His ideas gave me the mindset and made me think how I could motivate the children like he had motivated me. I hope that there are more teachers in the world that are that passionate about teaching students and who know the student mindset.”
“I really enjoyed our trip to the BELL. I was deeply impressed not only by the BELL, but also with the classroom! It was wonderful! It motivated me to be a better teacher, and gave me infinite ideas for my future classroom. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to go and see such a classroom and to meet such an effective and passionate teacher [Mr. Koppelman]. I have met many passionate teachers; however I have never met one who has such a drive to better the lives of his students and who promotes their creativity as much as he possibly can. It was a wonderful experience, and very eye opening as to how much I can do in my classroom and in my students’ life one day.”
“The field trip to the BELL was extremely useful and one in a million. Mr. Koppleman, in just that short period of time, was able to demonstrate to us how he teachers his students. He was able to demonstrate that there are so many different things you can do to avoid using textbooks and busy work. He teaches so creatively, and it really is inspiring. I aspire to implement many of his strategies. I’m sure he has been able to motivate most, if not all, of his students and I really admire that and hope that I take what I’ve learned and use it to my benefit in the future. I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to visit his classroom and the environmental learning lab. It was nice of him to give us that packet of activities. The entire trip, from beginning to end, was a wonderful experience and very helpful for my future. I appreciate you giving us the opportunity to go there.”
“Going to the BELL was a really informative experience. Mr. Koppelman was extremely informative and motivational as well. I loved his classroom and hope to do something like that to motivate my students and get them to enjoy coming into the classroom every day. I can only imagine the impact he has on his students with such great opportunities to enrich their lesson in science, math, art, and more. I wish I could have been there before creating the unit plan and I would have constructed the lessons with bigger dreams in mind.”