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Purdue Extension provides hands-on science activities through annual programs such as the Seventh-Grade Science Sensation.

Science for Seventh-Graders
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Science camp provides real sensations for seventh-graders

Phoebe Adler enjoys studying science by doing—seeing, touching and smelling. That makes learning all the more fun and memorable for her. And that’s what Purdue Extension offers through its annual Gibson County Seventh-Grade Science Sensation.

This three-day “camp” offers science activities for all seventh-grade students in the county. Students from each school district as well as home-schoolers attend the camp for one day. In all, about 500 students participate annually. Activities have included making ice cream from soy milk, designing miniature wind turbines, walking nature trails and studying insects under a microscope.

“I’ve been learning some new, cool stuff,” Phoebe says. She was amazed that she could feel and see the insides of a live, cannulated cow to better understand how its digestive system works. That’s a real “hands on” experience that makes her want to continue learning about science.

“It helps me to understand it more,” she says. “When you’re doing worksheets, you’re learning, but it just helps me more to actually be able to do it.”

The Science Sensation addresses the national need for better science education on a local level. Program coordinator Cathy Boerste says the program’s goal is to get students excited about science so the teachers back in the classroom “can take the spark that we have ignited here and turn it into a flame of passion to learn more about science.”

More than 4,400 students have participated since the program began in 2001.

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