Elementary Students have opportunity to explore science on a deeper level

HOUGHTON — The Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center will open its classrooms to students in grades 1 through 5 for a six week after school class that introduces the students to science and engineering.

It’s cold and there’s snow outside. Which makes a great platform for first and second graders who will be analyzing snow flakes and their science.

“We’ve got lots of snow, and we’re happy about that, but there’s lots of different aspects of snow. The students will be investigating which materials are the best insulators. They’ll be look at how do animals and wildlife adapt to living in a winter environment and how do they stay warm, how do they find food? They’ll be looking at snow crystals, so they’ll be kind of looking at the physical science aspects and life science aspects,” said Joan Chadde, Director at the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach, MTU.

Michigan Tech’s center for science and environmental outreach has been hosting the program for seven years, allowing elementary students to get a closer look and some of the inner workings of the world around them.

“The classes are lots of fun for the students because they are hands on and investigative. They work together in groups and they learn about it in a different way than sometimes they would at school,” Chadde added.

While younger grades are playing in the snow, grades 3, 4, and 5 will be studying electricity with several hands on activities.

“More than just fun and games, the students will be actually designing electrical circuits, and looking for ways to produce alternative energy,” said Chadde.

“Were going to be working with 3rd through 5th grade students and the lesson is going to be all about electricity. We will be exploring through hands on activities. Where electricity comes from, how it’s made. We’ll be using kilowatt meters to see what different appliances use in terms of electricity and how we can conserve that. And then the kids are all going to be making circuits and small electrical toys,” said Brian Doughty, Outdoor Field Trip Coordinator.

Classes begin January 21st and run into late February, beginning at 4:00 PM. Registration continues through January 17th and is open to all elementary students above kindergarten.

“Hopefully it sparks an interest in science in general but also in the fields of electrical engineering, computer science, things like that, and it’s kind of a primer for what they’ll be doing in middle school,” Doughty added.

More information can be found at www.mtu.edu or by calling (906) 487–3341.