On Monday, June 26th, starts Project Exploration’s Science Giants program at Al Raby High School! This is exciting for two reasons: (1) The program and helping these teens learn about science and build confidence is always awesome, and (2) This particular program is starting earlier than other PE programs because it has now earned the prestigious title of Advanced Apprenticeship. This means so many great things for these teens. I wish I had these opportunities to gain such valuable experience and build my resume when I was in high school. The skills the teens will be gaining will be beneficial to any and all of their future endeavors!

After two weeks of prep and practice, the Science Giants teens will be going to By the Hand Club for Kids, a top-notch youth organization that has a new recreational facility in the Austin neighborhood – a facility we have the benefit of using thanks to the day camp Coordinator, Ruth Kimble and her working with the staff at By the Hand. There the Science Giants teens will work with boys and girls from Channing’s Daycare, a PE partner. Science Giants teens will share experiments that they have researched, practiced, and designed to teach the younger students. One example of an experiment that is already planned for the Science Giants to do research and present on is a Secret Message Lab. This experiment will explore the concepts of acids and bases and chemical reactions, with the added fun of making invisible messages appear. I cannot wait to see the creativity that will ensue when my Science Giants plan this lesson. The fun does not stop there though! The cherry on top of all of all the great plans for program will be all the field trips. Compared to the school year, some of these field trips will have some added excitement! In addition to the Science Giants visiting By the Hand to share the wonders of science, these motivated teens will also be attending field trips with the kids once a week. These trips will bring the lessons taught full circle, with the addition of real life applications. One of these field trips will be to The Plant, in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, a non-profit closed loop production family as well as a farmer’s market with the added bonus of providing educational tours. The tours cover both the science behind the farm and the repurposing of an old meat packing factory. Take a moment to put yourself in a teens shoes and think of how wild your imagination would run when you learn fish can help tomatoes grow and big old abandoned machinery can be used as potting plants.

“Wow!”, would be an appropriate response!

As I mentioned earlier, I wish I had these opportunities in high school! Yes, I was just talking about the kids, but I am excited to see the impact of these field trips will have on the teens too. After being part of the teens’ learning experience and seeing their lessons come to life in a kid’s mind, the teens too will have their moment of “wow!” We are looking forward to a very interactive summer with our Science Giants teens!

Written By: Caitlin O’Brien

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