|A physics lesson at Elitch's? Sure, if it's the Summer Science Institute for kids||
June 22, 2005
Research shows that many kids lose interest in math and science in middle school and never regain it. Mathematics Professor Larry Johnson has been working for years to make sure that kids don't lose that interest in the first place.
Johnson is the director of Metro State's Center for Mathematics, Science and Environmental Education, which offers summer science programs for Denver-area middle-school and high-school students. The center's Summer Science Institute, now in its sixth year, will bring more than 250 middle schoolers to campus this summer to study human biology, aerospace, meteorology, website design and other topics with Metro faculty.
"This program is designed to keep their interest alive now, so that it can continue as they grow older," says Johnson. The sessions are hands-on, simultaneously fun and educational. For instance, in the math module, students set off rockets and then plot their trajectories. Each session culminates with "Physics Friday" at Six Flags Elitch's Amusement Park; "Elitch's is a great physics lab," Johnson says.
The institute is open to kids entering sixth through ninth grade. The sessions, which started June 6, are four hours per day for two weeks. Sessions are limited to 25 kids. Scholarships are available, thanks to funding from the Virginia Hill Foundation, the Edward Madigan Foundation and the Xcel Energy Foundation.
"This program is designed to help facilitate these students getting into college," explains Johnson. "This summer's curriculum emphasizes a mix of biology and mathematics, to teach good quantitative skills, while also providing introductory material about getting into college and maximizing the college experience."
The classes are rigorous, and daily attendance is required. Students who successfully complete the entire three-week course will be paid a stipend of $25 per day that can be used for any purpose, including upcoming college expenses. In order to qualify for this program, students are required to submit an application, a letter of recommendation from a teacher and a parent statement.
Johnson and Doug Petcoff, professor of biology, will teach the Summer Science Scholars this year. "I'm excited to work directly with the students," Johnson says. "Although I've been directing the program since its inception, this is my first year to teach the scholars."
The Summer Science
Scholars program is funded by the Xcel Energy Foundation, Medtronics
Foundation, StorageTek Foundation, and Kinder Morgan Foundation.
@Metro is an electronic news bulletin distributed every Wednesday to all faculty, staff and administrators at Metropolitan State College of Denver. Copyright 2002-2003 Metropolitan State College of Denver