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home : schools : othello school district July 27, 2015

11/14/2013 6:56:00 PM
Physics lessons get bodies in motion
Fifth-grader Orlando Basurto checks out a science center exhibit Oct. 28. Photos by Erik Pague.
Fifth-grader Orlando Basurto checks out a science center exhibit Oct. 28. Photos by Erik Pague.
Erik Pague

The always-popular Pacific Science Center made some stops at Othello elementary schools this past month, with their most recent visit at Lutacaga Elementary School Monday, Oct. 28. This year, the theme was Physics on Wheels and PSC educators Luke Grange, Katharine Canning and Clinton Stellfox gave the lucky students some of their first introductions to the basics of the scientific discipline.
The students began their day with an assembly from the trio before taking turns visiting the displays and experiments set up in the library. Among the displays were topics ranging from electrical circuits, refraction and reflection of light and the study of sound waves. Stellfox, who's been with the PSC for seven years, said since physics can be a tough subject for younger students to understand, they focus a lot on making sure the results of the experiments are easily observable.
"For the most part, our lessons are observable phenomena - things that are easily observable and easily done," Stellfox said. "We're mostly introducing the topics."
As an example, Stellfox said they taught the lesson on sound waves by explaining to the students that vibrations are the source of sounds so they could understand the relationship.
The educators also visited classrooms throughout the day giving specialized lessons that went into a bit more detail than the opening assembly or the displays in the library, Grange said.
"We're doing classroom lessons throughout the day that range from electricity and magnetism, to the properties of light, to the physics of sound," he said.
The mobile teachers said student response was fantastic. They know there aren't many options available in the area to provide an experience like this and get good feelings whenever they hear positive student feedback on their lessons.
"It's so cool when a kid goes 'oh my gosh' when they see our thing," Stellfox said. "They say 'we want to be just like you' and that's kind of the whole purpose of the program. It's to get the kids excited and bring hands-on science activities to people who otherwise wouldn't have a chance to go to a science museum."
When all is said and done, the educators hope their program leaves a positive impact on kids and by showing the ways science can be fun, get them interested in pursuing a career within the field when they get older.
"Seeing that it is fun and that it is accessible is really important," Canning said.
The Pacific Science Center mobile vans won't be back until next year, but students can be sure they'll bring even more scientific fun the next time they come to town.


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