How do you inspire elementary school children to want to learn and excel in science? It seems like an impossible task, but a local foundation called In Search of Genius (ISOG) has figured out how to do it!
This weekend, 500 kids from underserved areas in the Chicago Public School system got together to test what they've been learning at their ISOG after school program throughout the year. They participated in a science competition held at the Illinois Institute of Technology and their smiles and laughter proved that science can be fun!
|Photo from ISOG Science Competition|
"Whether it’s constructing and flying film canister rockets, building and racing balloon cars, or participating in a relay race to act out the process of digestion, learning becomes exciting and something to look forward to, rather than a chore," said Gerry Walanka, founder of In Search of Genius.
Making science fun is more important now than ever before. A recent Sun Times article by Rosalind Rossi showed how poorly Chicago area students are performing when it comes to science:
"In eighth grade, a stunning 71 percent of CPS students scored below the most basic science level."
That's why parents are thankful to have after school programs like ISOG helping their students get excited about learning.
“My daughter has always been interested in school, but now she comes home every Tuesday eager to talk about what she has learned. She sometimes teaches me new things,” said a Carther Elementary parent.
The students come away with much more than scientific knowledge. "In addition to developing students' knowledge of science, we are also driving literacy skills, teamwork skills, leadership qualities, health habits and general life skills while inspiring students to believe in themselves and sparking in them a lifelong love of learning," said Walanka.
Anytime an organization inspires students to excel in school and to believe in themselves, I'd say it's a successful one!
Take a look at this short video put together by ISOG that shows some of the activities science mentors help with to get the students engaged: