In addition to the micro-biology unit developed by Reed professor Jay Mellis, in earlier semesters Reed biology professors led units on molecular biology and genetics (Janis Shampay), cell biology (Maryanne McClellan), plant ecology (Keith Karoly), animal behavior (Michael Childress), plant physiology (David Dalton), and developmental biology (Steven Black).
Meanwhile the staff worked hard to coordinate initial difficulties in pulling disparate elements together into one coherent program. By 1998 it was running smoothly enough to add a third school: Beach Elementary in north Portland. With 700 students, Beach is the largest elementary school in the city, serving many disadvantaged children and immigrants speaking Cambodian, Russian, Spanish, or one of several African languages as their first language. Would the approach that worked at the other schools meet the extra challenges at Beach?
"It was hard for the children to come up with hypotheses, let alone ways to prove them," says Beach teacher Fran Shaw, "particularly after subjects like math, where answers are right or wrong. Insecure kids have more trouble taking that kind of risk, and many of these kids have a lot of things to cope with and reasons to be insecure."