Most kids don’t want to wake up early on a Saturday morning to learn about math and science.
But the Andrews Institute in the College of Education has a group of 5th and 6th graders that has done just that.
As part of the community outreach initiative within the institution, free workshops are offered throughout the year to elementary students.
The workshops were created by two Ph.D candidates, Susan Harris and Angela Buffington. Harris and Buffington oversaw the workshops with the help of education students, including junior elementary education major Amy Cooper. Cooper said the workshops are helpful because she is able to see first hand the skills she’s learned in her education classes.
“It’s pretty neat to be able to apply all the things we learned in class to an actual classroom setting,” she said.
The workshop setting not only helps the students to learn, it also challenges the instructor.
“The kids’ reaction to the different activities is probably what was pushing me today,” Buffington said. “The kids were having a good time, they were exploring, they weren’t afraid to explore so they were being bold with the different sorts of activities.”
Harris said science and math should be a part of children’s everyday lives because they will continue to apply those skills over time.
But a lack of interest in the subjects has caused the U.S. to fall behind other countries. Molly Weinburgh, director of the Andrews Institute, said getting students to fall in love with math and science early is key to closing this gap.
“We believe one of the ways to get young people involved is to get them involved early and have them have really extraordinary, fun, yet highly rich in content experiences,” she said.