The formula for this year’s All Science Day at Stevenson Elementary School included a dose of mentoring provided by high school students.
Stevenson students spent Nov. 26 rotating through about 10 stations set up around the school covering a variety of scientific topics.
“We’re trying to give them a chance to dive a little deeper into some aspects of science than they’re able to do during the regular school day,” said Jennifer Kinsinger, who served as chairwoman of All Science Day. The event is sponsored by the K-3 PTO.
Students spent about 20 minutes at each station, hearing a presentation or watching a film before participating in a hands-on activity.
The activities at most of the stations were led by parents and other community members, Kinsinger said.
Students from RaeAnna Wieland’s two marine biology classes at Grandview Heights High School served as volunteers for one of the stations.
“A topic we’re looking at as part of the marine biology class is how humans use oceans,” Wieland said. “One of the goals is for students to learn how our use of the oceans impacts not only the oceans themselves but (also) the organisms that rely on the oceans and live in them.”
The challenge for the high school students was to take the lessons and information they’re learning at a more advanced level and making it simple enough for elementary schoolers to absorb and understand.
“Teaching others about a topic is a good way to help you learn about it yourself,” Wieland said.
The marine biology students split up into several groups, each of which led a presentation and activity on a different topic related to the ocean, she said.
One group addressed pollution and hosted an activity that simulated an oil spill and how animals that live at the site of a spill can be cleaned, Wieland said.
Another group talked to the younger students about the problem of trash on beaches and the actions individuals can take to help clean up the beaches in their local area, such as Alum Creek State Park in Lewis Center.
The high school students served as mentors to the youngsters, Kinsinger said.
“The young students look up to the high school students, and I think they relate to them a little more than they would a teacher, parent or adult volunteer,” she said.
Another All Science Day station involved an activity relating to the watershed that incorporated the augmented-reality sandbox from Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School, Kinsinger said.
The sandbox uses a computer and projector to overlay the sand with realistic textures and animation.
“We’re trying to spark their curiosity about science by including fun activities,” she said. “You never know what’s going to spark a long-lasting fascination with kids at this age.”
Although All Science Day is an annual event, it’s never the same, Kinsinger said.
“Every year is different because the Science Day displays are shaped by who is able to spend the day at the school and what topics they choose to explore with the students,” she said.
All Science Day was held on students’ last day of school before the Thanksgiving break.
“It’s not your typical school day. A lot of students are already halfway out the door thinking about Thanksgiving and having some days off from school,” Kinsinger said.
“This is a fun way to spend their last day before the break,” she said. “They don’t have to spend the day in their seats in class, but they still get to do a lot of learning.”