When children see the prevalence of science in everyday life and are exposed to the excitement of scientific discovery first hand, they are more likely to develop a lifelong appreciation for and understanding of scientific concepts, according to some studies.
Such is the idea behind Hillside Elementary School's Science Day, an innovative, daylong program designed to expose students to the wonders of the natural world.
Now in its fourth year, the program’s success has inspired several other North Fulton schools to implement their own Science Day and has prompted the Sawnee EMC Foundation to award the program with its fourth consecutive Bright Ideas Grant.
“By participating in events such as this that help our young people, we know that we are planting seeds that will grow for years to come,” said Blake House, VP of Member Services at Sawnee EMC, whose Bright Ideas grant supports innovative classroom programs at schools in the company’s service area.
Science Day - which will be held this year on Nov. 9 - is a large-scale, daylong event dedicated to exposing, inspiring and engaging people in the Hillside Community—and beyond—to the wonders of science. All students, from Kindergarten through fifth grade, work in collaborative groups, study fundamental science concepts, and acquire real-life experiences and problem-solving skills as they delve into grade-appropriate, skill-based experiments.
“If we are to increase the science literacy of our community, we need to show that science, math, and engineering are relevant and exciting. Science Day helps to generate curiosity about science and promotes a positive mindset, but it also provides an innovative way to integrate science into writing, reading and mathematics — as well as character building and teamwork,” said Dr. Maisha Otway, principal of Hillside Elementary School.
With the help of the Sawnee EMC Bright Ideas grants, Hillside Elementary has continued to expand Science Day by purchasing better equipment, involving community leaders, and sharing their knowledge with surrounding schools. In January 2011, Hillside hosted a Science Day Symposium for 25 Fulton County educators and parents interested in implementing a similar program at their schools. From this symposium, six additional Fulton County Schools have implemented their own Science Day into their calendar.
To learn more about Hillside Elementary School, visit the website.