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Science sampler: IUPUC lab gives students hands-on lessons


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Students from kindergarten through Grade 6 will learn about force, motion and other scientific concepts Saturday at IUPUC.

Science Saturday will feature interactive simulations such as turning trash into an artificial limb and building model roller coaster carts, then seeing whether they will stay on the track.

Science Saturday also will feature the Science2Go Bus, a mobile science lab that encourages hands-on learning about science and technology. The bus is a project of Encouraging Technology & Hands-on Science, or ETHOS, an Elkhart-based nonprofit science education organization.

The science-education program was launched last fall by the IUPUC Student Chapter of the National Science Teachers Association. The local chapter recently was named IUPUC’s outstanding student club for launching Science Saturdays.

Kate Baird, clinical assistant professor of science education at IUPUC, said that because of state requirements for literacy and mathematics education — coupled with lunch, recess, art and physical education — science education often is limited.

“Most elementary school teachers find it very difficult to do science education more than once a week,” Baird said.

That means some students miss out on hands-on learning, exploring and touching devices and experiments.

Science Saturdays allow them to have extra time with science education and to learn in a fun environment without having to worry about grades.

Because Science Saturdays will be supervised by IUPUC students, the next generation of science teachers will get additional professional development while benefiting their communities, Baird said.

The local chapter of the National Science Teachers Association plans to offer five Science Saturday workshops per year for the next five years to promote science learning and education. Each workshop will focus on a different discipline: engineering and design; life sciences; physical science such as chemistry and physics; earth and space science; and technology.

Saturday’s event will focus on engineering and design. On the Science2Go bus, students will participate in an engineering project to turn trash into a simulated artificial limb. They also will learn about the design engineering of a cell.

In an IUPUC classroom, the students will design roller coaster cars and a track with a loop to learn about force and motion by seeing which cars remain on the track.

Science Saturdays are sponsored through a grant from Women’s Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Inquisitive members of the general public may visit the bus after noon on Saturday.

If you go

What: Science Saturday.

For: Children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Purpose: Fostering an interest in and better understanding of sciences through hands-on experiments.

When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Where: Room CC167 at IUPUC campus, 4601 Central Ave. Enter at door Entrance 3.

Features: Science2Go Bus with “Shrinky Dink Cells” and “Human Leg” prototype

Activities: Build a better amusement park, including roller coasters and carts.

Cost: $15.

Registration: Online registration required due to limited space at go.iu.edu/76c

Scholarships available: Contact Kate Baird at kabaird@iupuc.edu by Friday.

Information: daharden@iupuc.edu.

Presented by: IUPUC Student Chapter of the National Science Teachers Association and the Kiwanis Club of Columbus.

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