SEED planted in young minds

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A trip to the Science Enrichment Education Day at the University of South Carolina Aiken is an annual event for Cathy Doolittle and her son, Andrew.

"We love it," Ms. Doolittle, a teacher at Clearwater Elementary School, said of the SEED program.

Andrew, who is in the fifth grade, had just finished making a wad of slime, which, along with making bouncy balls and seeing the reptiles, is his favorite part of the event, he said.

More than 2,000 people attended the event on Oct. 18, according to John Hutchens, special programs director at USC Aiken's Ruth Patrick Science Education Center.

"We have 60 exhibitors, including several new exhibitors, such as the National Weather Service and ASU's nano-tech exhibit," he said.

Also, there were the perennial favorites, such as Kimberly Clark Corp.'s paper-making, Cytec Industries' slime, M'Aiken Magic Robotics and the Savannah River Ecology Lab's reptiles.

While the children had fun, learning was the top priority of the event. "The purpose is to get kids excited about science and math and show them real world opportunities," he said.

Teachers scouted out the event for possible tie-ins to their classroom activities.

"I am interested in the forestry department's mobile classroom," said Tiffinni Vining, an eighth-grade science teacher at North Augusta Middle School.

She said she encouraged her students to attend.

"They will get bonus points," she said.

The Oct. 18 event was the 23rd annual enrichment day.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at charmain.brackett@augustachronicle.com.


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