Students get hands-on at Science Extravaganza

Students get hands-on at Science Extravaganza

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by Natalie Podgorski

Idaho's NewsChannel 7

Posted on January 24, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 12:10 AM

NAMPA -- Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has been in the news a lot lately for his proposed overhaul of Idaho's public education system.

One of his changes would include an additional year of science in high school.

Northwest Nazarene University and the Idaho National Laboratory know the importance of science.  They also know each year fewer students are pursuing careers in the fields of science, math and engineering, which is why they are teaming up to change that.

Middle school students from across the Treasure Valley gathered at NNU Monday to learn about their bodies and experience science hands-on.

The Science Extravaganza Program has been going on for over a decade.

One teacher from Lone Star Middle School in Nampa says she's been bringing her classes for the past five years.

The program lets her students use cutting edge equipment and exposes them to being on a college campus.

Organizers hope the program will encourage students to go on to higher education.  Ideally, in a science-related field.

They also hope the program will motivate and help them enjoy science in high school.

"It's adolesence and being teenagers, they lose some of that magic about science," said John Cossel, department chair and biology professor at NNU.  "And I think the group of kids that we have right now are right at that cusp of maybe we can keep them interested in maintaining that interest on into high school, then they can realize, 'Hey I can do this.'"

The kids were busy during a morning workshop building models of the human skin system, demonstrating osmosis and handling some reptiles, including an alligator.

There will be science programs on the NNU campus going on throughout the rest of this week. 

At the start of each school year Cossel holds a workshop for teachers and shows them hands on activites that they can incorporate in their classes.  The workshops also help the teachers better understand the concepts they are teaching.

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