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Eighth-graders at WMU for hands-on science education

June 16, 2008

KALAMAZOO--About 125 students from area schools who are entering the eighth grade this fall are expected to flock to Western Michigan University June 16-26 to partake of a wide range of hands-on activities designed to make science education more fun and effective.

It's all part of "Way 2 Go Summer Science 2008," an action-packed program that offers exciting summer science education for free thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation. Students will not only learn about science, but also help WMU researchers learn more about student learning and improve the teaching of science.

WMU's Mallinson Institute for Science Education is presenting the program in half-day sessions from 9 a.m. to noon. Middle school science teachers from Kalamazoo Public Schools will use hands-on activities to demonstrate scientific principals focused on two units, one on the force of motion and the other on how the angle of sunlight changes the amount of light energy released. Force-of-motion demonstrations will utilize a hovercraft, bowling balls, skateboards, fan-propelled carts and other objects, sometimes with students on board, to teach Sir Isaac Newton's laws of motion.

"There are so many things in our everyday lives that have to do with science and technology," says Dr. William Cobern, WMU professor of biological sciences and the institute's director. "It's important for young people to gain some experience of how the natural world woks and see how scientists gain knowledge of how things work. We want to help them observe scientific concepts rather than just tell them about them."

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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