A whole lot of school-aged youngsters participated within the 2021 version of Harper Expertise Day. The annual custom brings college students from native elementary and center colleges to finish a variety of actions with the help of instructors, college students and services at Harper School.
On account of COVID-19 security precautions, this yr’s Expertise Day was a hybrid occasion, with choices for on-campus actions, stay digital experiences and at-your-own-pace initiatives.
Some college students got here to Harper to take part within the outside Observatory and Photo voltaic System Scavenger Hunt or the Harper Ninja Impediment Course within the Foglia Basis Well being and Recreation Heart fitness center. Others had been in a position to interact with Harper instructors on the Makerspace and Entrepreneur Heart or Make Store through digital classes. Nonetheless extra can proceed to finish initiatives through 300 at-home kits, with directions in each English and Spanish, distributed at Harper or via partnerships with space libraries.
Demand for kits and registration for occasions was excessive, in accordance with Amie Granger, Harper’s group relations supervisor who oversees the occasion. The recognition of Expertise Day reveals the continued development for this system, which was all-virtual in 2020, however introduced lots of of households to campus for dozens of actions within the decade prior (when it was known as the School and Profession Expo).
Whether or not digital or in-person, Granger mentioned the occasion’s mission stays the identical: to foster a constructive introductory faculty expertise for younger college students and their households.
“For those who’ve by no means been to varsity, it may be scary. Not only for children however for adults too – the place to park, the place to go,” she mentioned. “However we are able to make this primary expertise a constructive one in an actual faculty classroom, an actual faculty lab. It is about breaking down fears or hesitation and exhibiting that you simply belong right here.”
Granger acknowledged the Harper workers who construct these bridges with experience, ardour and a dose of humor. She singled out Professor Julie Ellefson and Affiliate Professor Karen Dailey, who infused some enjoyable together with classes about science and sustainability of their video tour of the chemistry lab, filmed final yr.
Dailey and Ellefson did not simply display a combustion response and the speedy absorption of water by sodium polyacrylate; they had fun whereas they had been doing it. That sense of surprise and enjoyable additionally discovered its method into their digital experiments, tried through the at-home kits. Each chemistry professors contributed actions that prompted younger learners to conduct experiments with Pop Rocks sweet, ultraviolet beads and tea baggage.
“After we had been in-person, children got here with older siblings, a caregiver, a father or mother. After we ship it house, it is vital that the household is engaged,” Ellefson mentioned. “It is a household exercise; no less than that’s what we want to have occur.”
Dailey mentioned she was “unexpectedly excited” by what number of individuals emailed her about their experiment findings final yr, detailing their processes.
“I gave them my e mail handle and requested them questions. Some emailed me again with footage,” she mentioned. “One boy made a YouTube video; it was wonderful. And there was a brother and sister; we went forwards and backwards for a pair months, simply doing that exact experiment.”
Ellefson and Dailey are keen for the same response this yr. They’re additionally hopeful that, in future years, the on-campus Expertise Day presence will broaden, due to the way it allowed present Harper college students to work together with younger guests.
“The scholars are function fashions. The children see faculty college students who’re individuals like them,” Ellefson mentioned. “To see that faculty is doable – it vegetation that seed. That is one of many the explanation why we do Expertise Day: to assist college students consider that they’ll additionally go to varsity. I at all times say, ‘We’ll see you in a couple of years whenever you’ll be in one among our lessons.'”