With the end of the school year just around the corner and numerous COVID-19 restrictions still in place for the foreseeable future, many parents are worried. Summer camps in Pennsylvania are beginning to open, but with limited capacity. So, what are working caretakers to do with their kids all day? Villanova's Dr. Marta Guron, professor of Chemistry, along with six Villanova students, have created informative science lessons that bring learning and fun together in a virtual environment.
In a typical year, Dr. Guron gathers a group of students who volunteer their time by visiting local elementary schools and performing hands-on science experiments with students in grades 4 - 6. When in-person lessons were no longer an option due to the pandemic, the Villanovans adapted their strategy. Though finals are over and Villanova's campus remains empty, six dedicated undergraduate and graduate students are still finding time to go virtual with their lessons.
In the following video, Dr. Guron and the Villanova students use video, PowerPoint, plastic containers, water and their choice of "solids" to talk about density. The supplies for this outreach program are typically provided by Villanova, but in light of everyone being "stuck at home," Dr. Guron encouraged the grade school students to experiment with their experiments. "If there is something that you don't have at home, it's OK to try to replace different things. For example, some students, when they added different solids, they might have added a penny or a piece of wood. But others might have a bead or something else. It doesn't so much matter." She adds, "please make sure you talk to your mom and dad before you take anything out!"
Some other experiments the team has done include Painting with Crystals and Investigating Symmetry in them, Making "Gak," Building a Fruit Battery, Investigating Sound, Capillary Action in Flowers, and more.
Dr. Guron is grateful that her students were still interested in the project, even after the end of a particularly unusual semester. "I thought it was awesome that these students all volunteered time and effort after their final exams were over because of their dedication to the program and to the kids. We are truly a community of helpers."
Marta Guron, PhD Assistant Teaching Professor of Chemistry
Marta Guron, PhD, is an expert in sustainability, plastics, recycling & environmental issues associated with plastics & recycling.