Last week, August 7th, was the last week of the Science Giants’ summer program, which I know sounds sad, but it was still full of fun and learning. The students got a chance to some community work, share with friends what they had learned, and take moment to reflect.
Tuesday, we visited the community garden at George Leland Elementary School in West Garfield Park. There, the students got their hands dirty pulling up weeds and making a healthy living space for the various plants living there. The garden’s directors provided the students with tools as well as invaluable knowledge as to why having green spaces in the city is important. The students learned how our asphalt laden city is not very rain friendly due to the lack of porosity of surfaces like asphalt and concrete. This ultimately leads to excess run off that our sewer system cannot handle and is why many people who have basements face the risk of flooding. We need more gardens, more porous ground space that can absorb the water from the rain. There are various other reasons why having more green space would valuable to all of us, but it was great that the directors could give a reason that students could easily understand and find relatable. The students then also got to see all the different types of plants one can grow in simple garden. What was even more amazing was they were allowed to harvest some of the plants from the garden, of which there was a wide variety. Jamari took an onion home; Jakhyia took a cucumber. Many students took some basil home (after being told it can make a frozen pizza taste a lot less bland), and some took cilantro and green onions to make flavorful tacos. After some convincing that is was not poisonous, Armonte took some kale home too. All in all, it was easy to see that they learned a lot, and it was great to see them want to take home some fresh and healthy produce.
Lastly, on Wednesday, the students got to demonstrate their giant scientific knowledge one more time. At the showcase, they demonstrated a simple activity about light and sound waves that explains how we see and hear in our everyday lives. Using a rope, they demonstrated and discussed how different colors of light have different frequencies, which results in their having different temperatures, but each color still runs at the same speed. In the end, the audience got to walk away learning some of the same cool information the students did: the sky is not blue because our water is blue (it’s the other way around); our leaves are green because it is the only color the plant does not absorb; that radar is actually an acronym RAdio Detection And Ranging or RAdio Direction And Ranging.; and that a lot of the technology we have that harnesses sound waves came from the world wars. It is a lot to learn in such a short span of time, but it definitely makes one appreciate their senses and all the information they provide us. After all, what would science be without the information from our senses enticing our curiosity.
I truly hope this summer’s Science Giants continue satiating their curiosity about our world and the universe around them. I hope they take the skills and experiences they have gained in the past two months and carry it with them whatever path they may take. I hope they wish this for themselves as well and remember that anybody is capable of learning anything. I hope they never underestimate their own or others’ ability to comprehend anything, carrying with them always the knowledge that learning enriches their lives all the more.
Written By: Caitlin O’Brien