What with the planet heading into global warming meltdown and all, science education needs all the help it can get, so I was pleased to find Science Kids, a tiny school with a big heart that makes science fun.
Patty Harris Donnell parlayed her degree in science and experience working with a kids’ science museum into a humble home-based family enterprise, shoe-horned into a converted shed in Eugene, Oregon. As a result, local kids have a great alternative to mindless video games after school, as well as on no-school days, and a real chance at building both an understanding and a comfort level with science.
Patty makes it accessible, intriguing and fun. When I dropped by I got a glimpse of just a few of their wide-ranging projects, including fossil exploration, active bee hives and artificial lungs built from balloons and pop bottles. Both boys and girls were enthusiastically present—some even dressed in white lab coats.
Classes are eclectic and multi-sensory, with plenty of hands-on learning that can involve fish prints, clay models of the brain, creepy crawlies, outdoor survival, bottle rockets, greenhouse gases, volcanoes, solar ovens, fingerprinting, rocks, birds, ocean tides, nature bingo and anything else she can dream up.
Science Kids is a great example of an inspired, off-the-grid, shoe-string operation that can serve as a model for other communities.
For more information, visit www.sciencekidsrfun.com