Students and faculty at Sherman Elementary School got a sneak preview of the numerous fun and fascinating activities that await them this year on Sept. 9, when representatives from Discovery Education and the Science Channel came to the campus to kick off the year-long Support Our Science initiative.
Discovery Ed Curriculum Specialist Patti Duncan led a number of entertaining demonstrations to illustrate various science concepts, such as an explosive combination of Diet Coke and Mentos that brings gas out of solution.
“There’s always going to be some magic we can’t explain, but magic, for the most part, is science,” said Duncan. “The most important part of STEM is not necessarily vocabulary or memorizing things. It’s about using your brain: thinking, creating, imagining, putting things together, and solving problems.”
Sherman is one of only two schools from across the country selected to receive this comprehensive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program, which is designed to get students excited about science and the careers that relate to it.
“Getting educated in science can change your life for the better,” said astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi, who also serves as host of the popular TV show, Outrageous Acts of Science. “You know those pictures of the sun where great big ribbons of plasma are coming off of it? Well, I was on the team of scientists who got those pictures the very first time. Right now, we’re trying to send humans to another star system, so there’s no telling what we’ll be doing by the time you guys grow up. You might well go to other planets.”
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Sherman Principal Ben Hernandez described Support Our Science as “a really good opportunity” for both students and teachers. Students would be exposed to new ways of learning science concepts, while teachers could “break free, perhaps, from the more traditional ways they have taught in the past and begin learning more innovative strategies.”
“The Support Our Science program meshes with so many of our key initiatives by encouraging youngsters’ curiosity about science through anytime-anywhere learning, development of collaborative and critical thinking skills, and exposure to how STEM can translate into college readiness and future careers,” said HISD Superintendent Terry Grier.
Support Our Science includes funding for a number of professional development sessions throughout the year for teachers, who will act as team leaders in sharing what they have learned with their peers.