Summer academy students get hands-on learning

Starbase Atlantis Director Mo Yates looks over an egg harness with two Summer Science Academy students prior to the spacecraft’s descent and collision with the Cinder Block of Doom.                                                 - Kipp Robertson / Herald
Starbase Atlantis Director Mo Yates looks over an egg harness with two Summer Science Academy students prior to the spacecraft’s descent and collision with the Cinder Block of Doom.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / Herald

POULSBO — High up on a line, Eggbert sat comfortably in his wooden spacecraft preparing for a quick descent. Held in by just a few pipe cleaners against a wood seat, with some cotton balls as padding, the egg known as Eggbert was about to find out the meaning of inertia.

“Are you ready engineers,” Mo Yates of Starbase Atlantis asked the group of North Kitsap School District students sitting on either side of the spacecraft’s flight path.

An excited “yeah” was shouted in unison by the group of students, who patiently awaited their first descent from space.

Three… 2 … 1 … Eggbert flew down the line, heading straight for the Cinder Block of Doom. All eyes were on Eggbert, hoping for a successful landing.

It didn’t take long to reach the cinder block, painted black with a target on the front. As the spacecraft collided with the block, the safety harness two students made to keep Eggbert held in place was put to the test. Unfortunately for Eggbert it wasn’t enough; his yolk spilling out after crashing to the ground.

There was a benefit to Eggbert’s demise, however, as the Summer Science Academy students learned about inertia.

The hour-long science experiment was a collaboration between the North Kitsap School District’s Summer Science Academy and Starbase Atlantis. Starbase is a U.S. Navy educational community outreach program, which has a branch at Naval Submarine Base Bangor.

This is the second year of the summer science program, which focuses on life sciences. Students develop reading and writing skills by doing research and keeping science journals. Math is used during projects and for making scientific observations.

The students in the program were identified as struggling in school during the regular school year. The program is for elementary-aged students.

During its first year, the program worked with 108 students. Of those students, all but about 2 percent showed growth in reading. This time around the program will collect data on math as well, said Elementary Science Coach Lori McClanahan.

The program receives federal funding based on students struggling in school. Though the funding restricts how the money is used, McClanahan hopes to see the program expand to any student who wants to receive some additional learning opportunities in the summer.

The summer science program also received $3,023 this year from the North Kitsap Schools Foundation for science kits, and to replenish consumable supplies in K-5 science kits. The donation from the foundation was part of more than $24,000 donated to various programs in elementary schools throughout the district this year.

The egg experiment was just the beginning of the fun this week for students in the program. On Wednesday students were scheduled to head out to the Foulweather Bluff Preserve to learn about the coastal and wetland environment.

The hands-on activities let the students learn with their hands, and develop kinetic skills, McClanahan said. “And it’s fun,” she said.



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