Hands on science
Geneva Middle School brings science to life at annual event
Eating some of the squid prepared by Chris Theilman at Geneva Middle School South’s fourth annual Science Enrichment Day was strictly optional, and adventuresome students who did so earned no extra credit. However, the encounter with the squid did provide students with a taste of science.
Theilman, a member of the College of DuPage Culinary Arts program, called his presentation “Mullosk-O-Palooza” and discussed squid physiology and how these sea creatures are prepared as food.
“We get a wide variety of presenters here for this annual half-day event,” said seventh grade science teacher Terry Duber describes it as “a good learning experience.“
Science Enrichment Day gears demonstrations toward each of the school’s grade levels: sixth grade – earth science, seventh grade – life science and eighth grade – physical science.
Duber said when hand surgeon Dr. Craig Torosian from Fox Valley Orthopedics demonstrates why a cast is sometimes required and what bones must be knotted together again, “it catches students’ attention because many of them have had similar injuries.”
Among other presenters in the lineup for seventh grade classes were “The Role and Training of Therapy Dogs” by Don Cote of Delnor Hospital, and “The Life of a Bee Keeper” by Harry Patterson.
Sandra Koontz, seventh grade science teacher, said a virtue of the program is how it exposes students to science in everyday life and through various professions.
“Kids really get excited about palenotology (Rob Sula from College of DuPage discussed this subject). But they might not know much about energy conservation or environmental issues,” Koontz said.
This year’s event included an energy bike presentation by Steve Kenny. Students discovered the impact of pedal power as they monitored the effort needed to turn on a light bulb hooked up to a stationary bike.
Eighth graders were treated by Rebecca Weaver, owner of Becky’s Best Ice Cream, to a demonstration on ice cream production and the chemistry involved in achieving the required sub-zero temperatures used in the process.
Other eighth grade presentations included “The Wonders of Physics” by the University of Wisconsin Department of Physics and “Close Encounters of the Chemical Kind,” by the Science Alliance.
Science Enrichment Day always gets a warm reception, teachers said.
“We have more options to choose from every year, and I’ve never had a presenter tell us ‘I can’t come back’,” said Duber. “I think this hand’s-on experience brings to life what students are learning in class.”
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