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CA Press: Slimy Science

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Tue Jul 31 12:37:51 2007  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE (San Gabrial, California) 27 July 07 Slimy Science (Robert S. Hong)
South El Monte: The 3-foot kingsnake coiled around the 7-year-old's arm traced its head slowly from side to side.
Its tongue darted in and out as it inched itself toward Mario Covrrubias' face, but the boy showed no fear as he simply stroked the serpent's head, describing why the scaley reptile had captured his attention.
"He's a king snake and he can curl around everything," Mario said. "He's my favorite because he wraps around and holds on."
This relatively passive snake was one of the many reptiles available for students to hold and learn about during the Mountain View School District's summer Science Academy at Cogswell Elementary School.
The program ó which allows students to learn more about science through an entertaining and hands-on approach ó was provided in large part through a $5,000 grant from Assemblyman Mike Eng, D-El Monte.
Along with reptiles, students learned about outer space and some beginning chemistry, with all classes taught by instructors from the Youth Science Center in Hacienda Heights.
"We go through each animal and talk about its special characteristics," said Kristen Cooke, who taught first- through third-graders enrolled in the program.
She was aided in her instruction by her father, former Whittier science teacher Paul Craig.
On July 18, Cooke and Craig gave a lively description of how snakes hunt, and how some reptiles can regenerate their fangs.
Surrounding the students were terrariums full of colorful snakes, a gecko and a blue-tongued skink.
On the other side of campus, a group of older students were also engaged in some hands-on work.
But instead of playing with slimy reptiles, these students were making some slime of their own.
Under the direction of teacher Patrice Stanzione, these fourth- through sixth-graders were using household items to concoct all types of slippery substances ó from silly putty to homemade ice cream.
"This gives them a baseline for chemistry," Stanzione said.
Incoming sixth-grader Rachel Sikes twisted pipe cleaner into snowflake designs to be added to the chemical borax to create a crystal effect.
"This is not something I would learn in school normally, but this is something I would like to learn," the 11-year-old said.
Next to her, fellow sixth-grader Crystal Ly flipped her pancake-shaped blob of slime onto her desk, creating a thin air bubble.
"It's squishy, it's stretchy and it rips easily," she said contentedly.
Slimy Science


   

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