Science Explorers a hit with Northwest Colorado students
January 31, 2012
Steamboat Springs — The hands of students from across Northwest Colorado turned red after they molded clay in the gymnasium of the George P. Sauer Human Service building on Friday. But Julie Dalke said the kids didn't mind. They were learning how the Yampa Valley was formed.
"It's one of the most rewarding days of the year for me partly because I have a background in environmental education," Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services media specialist Dalke said about last week's annual Science Explorers workshop in Steamboat Springs. "There's always so much energy around the event, and the reaction we got from the kids and the teachers is positive."
The event drew 110 fifth- through eighth-grade students from Steamboat, Hayden, South Routt, Walden, Kremmling, Meeker and Fraser to the gymnasium where students learned about changes in the Earth's "critical zone." Dalke said a series of stations had the students create a Colorado watershed and use a computer to map the relationship between ecosystems, wildfires, soil and water. Another station explored how snow and ice affect the state's water supply.
Dalke said the day of science, which was led by instructors from the University of Colorado Boulder, allowed youths in rural school districts to have an opportunity to perform meaningful hands-on experiments.
"There are a lot of options and events like this for kids who are interested in science along the Front Range," she said. "But it's rare to get that kind of science expertise and hands-on opportunity up here in Northwest Colorado. It put huge smiles on every kid's face, and students' creative juices were flowing. It was just high energy."
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