Science show and tell

Friday , August 06, 2010 - 11:15 AM

Catherine McNally - Hilltop Times staff

With shows like Bill Nye the Science Guy and MythBusters working hard to teach kids that science can be fun, it's no wonder that more and more of today's youth are interested in the different aspects of science -- from biology to engineering.

This is exactly what the Davis School District's Science Summer Camp, run by Rita Stevenson, Elementary Science Supervisor, aims to do as well. The camp open to Davis School District students grades 4 through 6, is both educational and fun, Stevenson said.

"We feel it's important for the students to experience science 'up close' and not just through books or theory," Stevenson said. "The activities we do and places we visit support the science curriculum taught in those grades."

For the hands-on portion of the camp, students were treated to a tour of Hill Air Force Base on June 21 and 28 and will be visiting again Monday, July 12. One of the tours started with a discussion led by Larry Coulter, senior engineer and associate unit director for the Air Force Advanced Composites Office, sometimes better known as "Larry the Composites Guy." Other features included tours of science-related areas of the base such as the field training office, composites lab, and soldering and egress lab.

"We are trying to get the kids excited about science and engineering and Department of Defense careers," said Carole Beasley, Science and Engineering Outreach liaison. "There is so much great technology going on at Hill, and a lot of people external to the base don't realize it. It's also amazing how many people don't really understand what an engineer does in the day to day operations."

The children's tours came after an initial tour by 20 teachers who had been attending the Utah Technology and Engineering Teachers annual conference at Davis High School. Though the teachers' tour was limited due to an inspection, they still managed to tour the soldering and egress and composites labs.

"They were very impressed," Beasley said. "We gave them a mission briefing before heading out to the lab locations and I told them ... that we were only showing them the tip of the iceberg. At the end of the tour, one of the teachers asked me if I was just kidding about the tip of the iceberg!"

Beasley hopes that the teachers will be able to schedule another tour when they will be able to spend more time exploring the science and engineering aspects of the base.

The Children's Science Summer Camps run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and there are three sessions during the summer. For more information on the Davis School District science program and to learn more about the summer camps, please visit http://www.davis.k12.ut.us/district/curric/science.

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