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'Science Kid' project helps classmates learn

Paige Frankiewicz shows off her experiment from her time as "Science Kid" in Shelly Clay's second grade class at St. Croix Central Elementary School. Each week a "Science Kid" is selected to do an experiment in front of the class.1 / 2
Second-grader Mark Albright shows off the science experiment he did during his turn as the "Science Kid" in Shelly Clay's second grade class at St. Croix Central Elementary. Clay said the "Science Kid" project helps teach children the scientific method.2 / 2

Each week, Shelly Clay gives a special bag to one of her second grade students. The student takes the bag home and uses the materials inside to design his or her own science experiment, usually with the help of their parents. The children practice at home and perform their experiments for the class on Friday.

"They have to be prepared to walk us through what's happening and why it's happening," Clay said. "And then answer any questions that the kids have."

Clay said popular experiments have involved investigating the difference between solids, liquids and gasses, and what happens when those states of matter mix.

"The volcano is a big one," Clay said.

The "Science Kid" project is about teaching children the scientific process, Clay said. The students make a hypothesis, design an experiment and observe what happens when the experiment is conducted. Then, they analyze why the results of the experiment occurred the way they did.

"It allows them to understand science a lot more," Clay said, "To get hands-on with science."

Clay said the project can also incorporate the engineering process, using science and math to create something or fix something. She said she hoped to help her students learn to use math and science together with critical thinking and problem solving skills.

Clay said she got the idea for the "Science Kid" project from a similar project her own children participated in when they were in school.

"It gives the kids just a whole new way of thinking," Clay said. "The critical thinking and the problem solving behind it sometimes is so much more important than finding the right answer."

Clay said every student in her class gets a turn to be the "Science Kid" and only one student per week is chosen.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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