Thursday, July 08, 1999

Children find fun in themes of science

Children find fun in themes of science
The Ann Arbor News
By Pamela Appea

Bengamin Lehman shook the jar of homemade butter and chanted “better butter, better butter” until a teacher gently reminded him to give the next person a turn.

The Ann Arbor boy was having fun at Logan Elementary School—and learning about science at the same time.

Science has never been this fun, said Becky Hatner, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum’s summer science camp coordinator. The camps offer classes that take a specific theme in science and make such subjects as polymers, paleontology and physiology both fun and educational, she said.

“It gives kids who are already interested in science a chance to create and explore and to discover new things,” she said. “It can also interest kids who may not like science as much, hooking them in.”

Each class in the seven-week program is one-week long, with a morning or a afternoon shift. Sessions are offered for children in kindergarten through 8th grade. Twice-weekly classes are offered for children ages 1 to 5.

Near the classroom where the butter was being made in the “Gobbledy-Gook” session, the 12 kindergartners and 1st-graders in “Sense-sational” learned about their sweet, salty and sour tongue tastebuds using Toostie Rolls, pretzels and pickles.

Classes at the science summer camp, said Hattner, are truly hands on, she said, adding that children get to take the time in finding the answer to such questions as “how much they would weigh on Jupiter” or what a dinosaur bone feels like.

For the several new teachers who work at the science summer camps, many said they also learn a lot by approaching science through a child’s point of view.

David Consiglio, a recent college graduate who will teach chemistry and physics in a Detroit-area school in fall, said that while making rockets in his “Flighty Fliers” class he has been amazed at the “kids’ ability to solve problems.”

The program, which is in its 12th year, allows teachers to think of creative ideas for class experiments. Consiglio said instead of using the typical paper airplane approach, he came up with the idea of a balloon hovercraft.

Sandra Finkel said her son, Micah Warschausky, enjoyed the program so much from last year, she knew it would be a good idea to enroll him again.

Photo Caption: Charmaine Redman, 9, left, watches her balloon float around the floor during a gravity experiment in Flighty Fliers class. The Ann Arbor Hands on Museum is sponsoring Summer Science Camp, housed in Logan Elementary School.

Info: Classes, which go until Aug. 13, cost $60 for each weekly session. They last two hours per day. Scholarships are available. For information, call (734) 994-6449.

Originally published Thursday, July 8, 1999