Freshman Evie Fachon’s lesson plans for teaching biology to chil­dren at Roxbury’s Yawkey Boys and Girls Club included arts, crafts and games. The teaching methods dif­fered from those used by pro­fes­sors in her classes at North­eastern, but the sci­ence was sur­pris­ingly similar.

In class we learned about a lot of really advanced topics that were acces­sible to us because we’re biology stu­dents and we’ve been studying this for years,” said Fachon, who dis­cussed her teaching strategy after she pre­sented her work during Thursday’s Service-​​Learning Expo in the Curry Ball­room. “So the real chal­lenge was taking that infor­ma­tion and not dumbing it down, but finding a way to make it acces­sible to a dif­ferent audience.”

Teaching dif­fi­cult con­cepts in an under­stand­able way is an impor­tant tenet of a service-​​learning course, said Gail Begley, director of the Uni­ver­sity Pre-​​Health Pro­gram and the instructor of Fachon’s service-​​learning course, “Inquiries in Cel­lular and Mol­e­c­ular Biology.”

It’s easy to talk about sci­ence when you’re using jargon and these big com­pli­cated ideas,” Begley said. “But if you can explain it to someone without using all that, then you really know the material.”

Thursday’s event in the ball­room was the Center of Com­mu­nity Ser­vice’s first  show­case of ser­vice learning. In pre­vious years, North­eastern had hosted an end-​​of-​​semester break­fast that fea­tured stu­dent, fac­ulty and com­mu­nity speakers.

Ser­vice learning at North­eastern is a form of expe­ri­en­tial learning that links aca­d­emic courses to community-​​based organizations. Students engage in hands-​​on ser­vice roles and projects, applying con­cepts they learn in the class­room to address com­mu­nity needs.

What we wanted to do this year was give more stu­dents and fac­ulty mem­bers the chance to show off their work and their research,” said Kristen Doggett, director of the Center of Com­mu­nity Ser­vice. “At an event like this, you’re really able to see just how many ways our service-​​learning classes are inter­acting with the com­mu­nity, whether they’re working with stu­dents in the class­room or after school or working with our part­ners to develop new pro­grams or initiatives.”

Over the course of the fall semester, more than 500 grad­uate and under­grad­uate stu­dents com­pleted nearly 20,000 hours of com­mu­nity ser­vice. Many of the service-​​learning course’s 33 teaching assis­tants were recruited after excelling in a prior service-​​learning course.

CJ Schmidt, for example, a sopho­more mechan­ical engi­neering major, took a service-​​learning class last year and returned this fall as an assis­tant. He helped engi­neering stu­dents teach engi­neering design prin­ci­ples to sev­enth and eighth graders at Orchard Garden Middle School in Boston’s Rox­bury neighborhood.

I think the saying that in order to learn some­thing really well you have to teach it is a com­pletely accu­rate phrase,” Schmidt said. “You learn about engi­neering design in class, but until you are familiar enough with the con­cepts that you can teach them your­self — and make it fun for middle school stu­dents — you don’t fully know it.”

Susan Freeman, the asso­ciate aca­d­emic spe­cialist who teaches the engi­neering course, noted that ser­vice learning enhances stu­dents’ knowl­edge about a sub­ject and intro­duces them to new neigh­bor­hoods and experiences.

The schools and com­mu­nity cen­ters these stu­dents vol­un­teer with may not be far away — just a short ride on a city bus — but they’re in areas that North­eastern stu­dents may never have oth­er­wise gone,” Freeman said. “And when the course is over, so many of my stu­dents are eager to go back, joining us even when they don’t need to be there for class or credit. They’re pas­sionate about the com­mu­nity and they’re pas­sionate about these topics.”