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Students in Westminster to Lend a Hand to Science

June 01, 1993

WESTMINSTER — Peering at insect wings through a microscope and building models of South American rain forests are just two ways that 150 elementary school students will spend the summer as part of an innovative new science program.

Called "Summer Science Super Sessions," the federally funded program is designed to spark interest in science by offering hands-on experiments that require students to work together to learn basic physical and biological principles.

The $100,000 program targets children, many of whom speak little English or have had some difficulty in school.

"Hands-on (learning) is very important to all children, and particularly for those with limited English skills, because they are doing rather than observing. We learn better by doing something," said Diane Materazzi, one of the program's teachers.

The cooperative aspect of the lessons will also encourage children to help each other, she added: "It's going to be an atmosphere where talking is a plus."

The two-part program begins June 21, when teachers undergo intensive science training and perform the experiments they will do later with the children. The students will start the daily classes on June 28.

The program, which supplements the regular summer school curriculum, will be held for 2 1/2 hours each weekday at L.P. Webber Elementary School.

Among other things, students will make pulleys to learn how machines operate, perform experiments with water to learn about its properties, and study marine biology by handling animals such as starfish and octopuses.

"It's a great opportunity. This is the way students learn science--by doing it, instead of the old way by doing it out of books," said Pat Ankeny, a first-grade teacher at Iva Meairs Elementary School. "Instead of just memorizing facts or doing some work that they'll forget, it will have meaning for them in life."

Materazzi said enrollment in the program will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call (714) 894-7411, Ext. 237.

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