LEC faculty introduce area students to the exciting world of science

Academics,

In labs most often occupied by undergraduates, students from Ridge Pointe Child Care are diving into the exciting world of science. The students, ranging from grades 1-3, are involved in a series of summer camps presented by the faculty in Lake Erie College’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Think the concepts “science” and “exciting” don’t go hand in hand? Think again. With lessons involving exploding gummy bears, color-changing solutions, and paper airplanes in flight, the students taking part can’t get enough.

“The kids are so excited about learning and are thrilled to be in a college lab,” said Maureen Tedesco, assistant director and curriculum coordinator at Ridge Pointe. “They’re already sharing their experiences with the other kids after each trip.”

Upon their arrival to campus, the students select their own goggles, lab coats, notebooks and drawstring bags, all of which they get to keep at the end of the sessions. Gear in hand, they climb on lab stools nearly as tall as they are, poised to take notes on the scientific method.

“The faculty in our school value curiosity and are always eager to help promote scientific awareness and inquisitiveness in young people,” said Dr. Johnathan Tedesco, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and associate professor of chemistry. “Events like these camps allow us to help students wonder about how things work, ask questions, and learn how to find answers.”

As the primary coordinator behind the camps, Dr. Tedesco leads each session, helping the students sound out the spelling of concepts at play with words like “viscosity,” “miscible” and “density.” The students’ hands spring to the air as Dr. Tedesco guides them with questions, demonstrating each experiment and assisting the students alongside the staff from Ridge Pointe.

As a whole, the camps are taking part over six sessions in June, four on the campus of LEC and two at Pheasant Run Airport, a facility owned by the College. While the campus sessions center on hard science skills, the trips to the airport involve a tour of the grounds and an activity for building planes and testing the flight capacity of the kids’ creations.

“Our most important goal is to show these kids that science is FUN,” said Dr. Tedesco. “Activities like these offer hands-on learning that keeps the kids involved and engaged.”

Other LEC faculty involved in teaching the camps include Dr. Deborah Schulman, associate professor of biology, Al Fazenbaker, assistant professor of AYA science, and Betty Clifford, assistant professor of mathematics and education, all of whom share Dr. Tedesco’s passion for instilling interest in STEM fields at a young age as STEM occupations continue to grow in availability and importance.

Though the faculty developed this initial series of camps as a test run, those involved are already looking to expand these offerings in the future. The lessons in the summer camps parallel the College’s undergraduate curriculum in that they embrace the increasing importance of science in our society and the belief that education is the most powerful tool for changing the world.

In future years, the faculty intend to provide varied cost levels to allow parents to enroll their children in specific classes and activities. For more information on the science camps at Lake Erie College, contact Dr. Tedesco at jtedesco@lec.edu.

Located in Mentor, Ridge Pointe Child Care is a family owned and operated facility providing a nurturing environment and curricular experiences. The students from Ridge Pointe taking part in LEC’s camps come from school districts in Painesville City and Township, Mentor, Kirtland, Perry, Madison, and Willoughby, as well as several private schools. To learn more about Ridge Pointe, visit www.ridgepointechildcare.com.

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