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Chesterton High School students light the spark for a love of science in minds of first-graders
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Chesterton High School students light the spark for a love of science in minds of first-graders

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PORTER — On one side of the Yost Elementary School cafeteria Wednesday morning, first-graders were throwing pickle slices at a board covered with honey, oil and water.

Across the way, another group used cut pieces of PVC pipe to play a pipe organ.

Still another batch of first-graders dipped their hands into the gooey vat of oobleck.

The activities were all for the love of science.

Rather, CHS chemistry teacher Brian Hennigar said, it was all aimed at instilling the love of science into the youngest students.

Hennigar brought 80 of his sophomore students to the elementary school Tuesday. In the cafeteria, they set up 20 work stations on topics ranging from chemical reactions to density, viscosity, bridge building and light movement.

The 80 first-graders visited each of the stations for a four-minute hands-on lesson.

"We are showing them that it can be fun and they can get their hands dirty," Hennigar said, calling the first-graders "future physics, future chemistry students."

Each activity represented a curricular standard taught to first-graders in science.

CHS student Gwen Sanders said the effort was to get the younger students interested in science, which she said, at that age, seemed to her to be "kind of mathy and dull."

"We get to influence the future of the kids in science," her station partner Desteni Walker said.

The two were giving a quick lesson in solar and winter eclipses.

"I always liked science and teaching little kids. This will teach them that science will help them when they are older," CHS student Whitney Siewin said as she watched youngsters dip their hands into oobleck, a water and corn starch mixture that turns from liquid to solid.

"It is just really interesting to see how enthusiastic they are about science," CHS student Corrine Young added.

"They love it. This is how science should be," Yost Principal Anne Stillman said. "This is science in action and is getting them involved and engaged."

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.

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