Originally created 11/10/05

Hands-on lessons in classes show pupils that science can be fun



Science often can be a difficult subject for children to grasp, but Episcopal Day School science teacher Eleanor Taylor tries to make the subject fun for her pupils.

"Science was not fun for me when I was little," Mrs. Taylor said. "I wanted to see kids excited about science."

Episcopal Day School offers science enrichment classes for children age 3 through the second grade. The class includes several hands-on projects such as simulated volcanoes and rockets made out of straws and balloons.

"Students learn that science is fun and appears in all aspects of life," Mrs. Taylor said. "It's a different way of looking at the world."

On Friday, Mrs. Taylor's pupils learned the cause and effect of propulsion by making rockets.

Ten-foot strings were threaded through straws. Balloons were attached to the straws to simulate a rocket engine or jet propulsion system. Pupils released their inflated balloons in a race to see which one crossed the finish line first.

"The science experiment simulates how air pressure released pushes rockets," Mrs. Taylor said.

Pupils also learned to make a substance called space mud, which consists of household products. Space mud has a consistency that resembles a cross between slime and Silly Putty.

Susan Everitt, the director of public relations at the school, said the hands-on activities get the children excited about science.

"The classes introduce students to science in a fun way," she said. "If I had taken this class when I was young, I might have been a scientist myself."

Reach Rebecca A. Smith at 823-3552 or rebecca.smith@augustachronicle.com.

SPACE MUD

2 cups white glue

1 cups water, at room temperature

1 cup hot water

2 level tablespoons of 20 Mule Team Borax

Food coloring, if desired

Two mixing bowls

Combine glue and room-temperature water; blend thoroughly. Add food coloring, if desired. In a larger bowl, combine hot water and Borax, stirring until Borax is completely dissolved. Slowly pour glue mixture into Borax mixture, constantly stirring.

Yields 10-12 portions. Space Mud will not stick to dry surfaces and will keep for about five days in an uncovered bowl, and longer if the bowl is covered with a damp cloth.

Source: Teacher's Brew Art Recipes Box, 1994 Lakeshore Learning Materials, provided by Episcopal Day School