Did your child’s summer plans include creating chemical compounds, extracting DNA from a strawberry, or having a hair-raising interaction with an electrostatic generator? If so, then your child probably participated in a GSK Science in the Summer™ program held at local libraries. In Philadelphia, the program is administered by The Franklin Institute.
As coordinator of the program for The Franklin Institute, I visited various libraries in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties to see firsthand how the students interacted with the activities. I witnessed elementary-aged students try to fit 18 feet of “DNA” into a cell “nucleus” and extract real DNA from strawberries in the genetics program. I’ve never seen DNA strands like that before and I was biology major!
The oceanography students investigated various sea animals including an up close look at shark teeth. There were non-stop experiments in the chemistry class starting with classic vinegar and baking soda reactions through to cold bubbles made from liquid soap and dry ice.
Teachers in the physical science/electricity program operated the electrostatic generator creating arcing sparks and making the students’ hair stand on-end. I was excited to see the students create roller coasters from foam tubing and lots of tape, and use a marble as the car in the simple machines program.
As an added bonus, all students who participated in the Philadelphia summer program were invited to The Franklin Institute for a day of fun. Students showed off their new science knowledge and shared a memorable experience with their families while interacting with the exhibits. Ayush, one of the Science in the Summer students who is entering the third grade, told us what he liked best about GSK Science in the Summer and what he wants to be when he grows up.
Mimi, a museum interpreter, performed the Liquid Air Show. Nitrogen was used to change the state of matter of objects like a flower, balloon, and bouncy ball. Mimi created a large cloud in the building and even shot a cork way up in the air and into the audience. It’s a good thing we have tall ceilings!
The Philadelphia Inquirer also joined us for GSK Science in the Summer Day! Here is Michaelle Bond’s story.
I can’t wait for next year! I hope your children can join us.