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Saturday Tutoring Group Learned Great Things at the Great Lakes Science Center

On December 15, 2001, the Saturday Tutoring Program visited the Great Lakes Science Center. Our group included 29 students, 14 tutors, and 2 parents. After sharing a pizza lunch in Covenant's dining room, we headed downtown for an afternoon of learning and fun.

Each tutor accompanied a few students through the science center, which has three levels. The lower level has exhibits about the technology and ecology of the Great Lakes region. Many students liked navigating a remote-controlled boat through a model of the Cuyahoga River. This exhibit helped them learn about propulsion and inertia. They discovered that it was tricky to move the boat in the right direction and even harder to stop it from drifting into the riverbank!

On the science center's middle level, the students learned how technology can make our lives easier. For example, sixth-graders Erica and Marcus heard how different materials (like copper wire or fiber optics) affect the clarity of telephone connections. Dartanone, who is in seventh grade, saw how artificial hip and knee joints move when muscles contract. The students also felt how simple machines could help them lift heavy objects. By using a long lever, even a little second-grader like Willie could lift an entire car off the ground!

Upstairs, there were exhibits about scientific concepts such as physical forces and electricity. Two of our fifth graders, Derrick and Mario, built a 7-foot tall arch out of big foam blocks. They learned that the equal forces pushing inward on the top block could hold the whole structure in place. Justina, who is in eighth grade, enjoyed testing electrical circuits to find the one that would make a light bulb burn the brightest.

Our tour of the science center would not have been complete without seeing a movie about volcanoes entitled "Ring of Fire" in the OmniMax theater. Everyone was impressed with the huge domed screen, which is six stories tall, and with the sounds created by 44 speakers. It was fun to see the amazement on the students' faces when images of spewing lava filled the screen and rumbling noises shook the theater seats!

Trips like this one have become an important part of the Saturday Tutoring Program. When the students have opportunities to visit educational and cultural sites, their horizons expand beyond their own schools and neighborhoods.

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Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
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