Wittenberg Saturday Science is a new outreach program that exposes area high school and home school students to science and its many possibilities. Eight academic departments – biology, chemistry, computer science, geography, geology, mathematics, physics and psychology – are collaborating on the program, which is scheduled to run once a month during the school year. The April 25 presentation concludes the program for the 2008-09 school year, but plans are already being made for 2009-2010 Wittenberg Saturday Science events.
Each program features a public presentation by a Wittenberg faculty member on an accessible science topic, likely something outside the typical high school curriculum. After a continental breakfast on the second floor of the David L. Hobson Atrium, students then take part in a hands-on science experience led by current Wittenberg students and their professors.
"The first time that a student sees science outside of a textbook can be a powerful experience – both for the student and the teacher," said Adam Parker, assistant professor of mathematics. "We hope that this outreach program will have a dramatic effect on both high school students from the Springfield area, as well as our current Wittenberg science majors."
McWhorter's presentation will be followed by a science experience sure to be new to most, if not all, of the high school-aged students in attendance.
"We all started out as a single cell embryo that ultimately developed to become a kicking and screaming baby nine months later," McWhorter said. "We will discuss HOW the development of a human embryo occurs. During the hands-on experience, students will be able to observe a live chicken embryo with a beating heart."
Wittenberg Saturday Science is funded by a grant from Future Jobs, a regional workforce development program. Wittenberg is a partner with Future Jobs and University President Mark H. Erickson is a member of its board of directors.
The mathematics department hosted the first meeting of Wittenberg Saturday Science on January 24. Parker made a presentation titled "The Symmetric World," which examined the mathematics behind some of the patterns seen in the brickwork, tiling, fabric, woodwork, or metalwork around campus, and laboratory experiments afterward.
The second meeting took place Feb. 21, featuring a presentation titled "How We See: From Eye To Brain" by Assistant Professor of Psychology Michael Anes. His presentation offered "a tour of the human visual system, a look at visual illusions that shed light on how we see, and discussion about how vision breaks down after brain damage." That was followed by a presentation titled "The Science of Photography, From Old Black & White Film to the Digital Age," by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ray Dudek on March 21, which examined the development of the science of photography.
There is no cost to participate in Wittenberg Saturday Science, and the public is welcome to attend the lecture portion. However, space is limited for the hands-on experience. Click here to register for the event. For more information, e-mails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
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