One Class at a Time: Science teacher reaches for the moon

By Audrey Wise

May 21, 2014 Updated May 21, 2014 at 7:10 PM CDT

FORREST, Ill -- Scott Saffer loves the working mind of a seventh grader.

"They like to get out and explore the world and they're brave enough to do it at this point," said Saffer.

In the classroom his roughly 160 students are always doing experiments.

"We did a chicken wing dissection and an eyeball dissection this year," said 7th grader Sage Osborn.

They say they learn so much more by doing rather than reading about things in a textbook.

Osborn adds, "We learned that the inside of an eyeball is a lot more juicier than I would expect it to be."

Saffer takes his students outside the classroom to explore the world, looking for frogs and fossils. He has even hosted several star gazing parties at night.

"When you see Jupiter for the first time, you see Saturn, you see the rings, it's gotta have a lasting impression on you," he said.

Saffer's fellow teachers know he is always trying to do more. He even goes to garage sales to find items for a new experiment, but they thought $1,000 can go farther.

Fellow teacher Karen Steidinger said, "He is very enthusiastic, always wants to teach the kids things and doesn't always have the budget to buy the things that he needs."

Saffer was caught off guard, and says he's overwhelmed with the possibilities for his grant money.

"I'd love to do some more field trips with them. Get them out to do some bird watching. This year we got a grant from the DNR to do some fossil hunting, but next year that would be great," said Saffer.