For most kids on the traditional school calendar, summer months mean sleeping in late and no classwork. But for one week, some Wake County kids will explore the science of “Simple Machines” by learning about levers, inclined planes, pulleys, gears and Newton’s three laws of motion.
These kids have chosen to take part in GlaxoSmithKline’s Science in the Summer enrichment programs being offered at Eva Perry Regional Library in Apex. It is a free science education program that helps elementary school children “grow into science.” The program gets kids excited about learning science with hands-on experiments.
Science in the Summer is made possible through a two-year $769,700 grant from GlaxoSmithKline. The program started 26 years ago in Philadelphia where GSK formerly had its headquarters. The mission was to get kids engaged in science over the summer and to avoid the “summer slide” while out of school for summer break. The program hopes to reach children of its employees as well as kids that would not be able to afford a summer enrichment program.
The curriculum for Science in the Summer was originally developed with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). When GSK moved its headquarters to NC, it brought the program with them. GSK partnered with the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center to administer the program because of the Planetarium’s track record with science curriculum.
According to Jarrett Grimm, GSK Science in the Summer Coordinator, the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center takes the base curriculum provided by GSK and builds upon it. The number and type of activities is based on the age level and length of the particular sessions. The entire curriculum is built upon inquiry-based learning where students are given a problem and they work out ways to solve it together.
By including several types of activities on one topic, the program tries to teach across the spectrum to reach all types of learners. The curriculum uses games, songs and hands on experimentation to teach each topic.
“We don’t want it to be like school,” says Grimm. “We also want them to have fun.”
Terri Bailey has been teaching the GSK’s Science in the Summer program for 5 years, 4 of them at the Apex location. Over the years she has found that she does not need to be worried that the kids won’t understand the subject matter being taught or that it might be too far above their grade level.
“As teachers, we sometimes don’t give information because we may feel it’s above their understanding,” says Bailey. Through her work with this program, she has found that the more she throws at them, the move they absorb the information.
GSK’s Science in the Summer program strives to hire teachers from within the counties where programs are offered. The pool of candidates comes from an existing relationship with Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s DESTINY and DREAMS programs, previous year’s teachers and word of mouth.
The registration process for GSK’s Science in the Summer begins in February when the program’s topics and locations are announced. The entire process is done online on a first come, first served basis. Once a particular site link goes live, the first 20 to complete the online registration go on the class list with an additional 15 placed on the wait list. For people that have limited access to the internet, partnering libraries are available to assist with the process.
GSK’s Science in the Summer will reach over 2900 kids in 89 sessions across Alamance, Caswell, Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Harnett, Johnston, Orange and Wake counties.
For more information about this free science enrichment program, visit www.scienceinthesummer.com.
Contact Mary Lahr Cain at email@example.com or 919-552-5675.