One of our big projects in the 2014-15 year has been participation in an after-school science program that is part of the Community Learning Center (CLC) at Turtle Creek Elementary School in Delavan. Science outreach staff go to the school on Monday evenings to work with the kids in CLC. We just finished up our time with Kindergarten – 2nd graders, and are meeting with the 3rd – 5th graders for the second semester.
Working with the CLC kids has been a lot of fun so far! For our K-2 programming, our weekly activity always centered around a book on the scientific theme of the week – sometimes fiction, sometimes non-fiction. We used the book to set the stage and then did hands-on activities in small groups. At the end of each session, the students got a note to share with parents and guardians that highlighted the book as well as the scientific activity that we did. Communication was sent home in both English and Spanish, and we hope that this encouraged families to talk about the science together. At the end of first semester, we said goodbye to the K-2 group. They gave us thank you cards, with drawings of their favorite activities!
Many of these activities (and the associated books) can be tailored to reach any elementary age audience. The activities are self-contained and could be done (by teachers or outreach staff) within a science class during the school day as well!