Faculty make science fun for kids in Beaver Falls

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Group from Beaver Falls

Wading in streams is a typical summer activity for children, but Geneva College took the recreation a step further during Science Fun Week June 29 - July 2. Professor Marjory Tobias led a troop of 18 eight- to ten-year-olds on an insect hunt in a local stream. Gathering as many "bugs" as possible, Tobias demonstrated how the quality of a stream or other body of water can be determined simply by the species of creatures living there.

Under Tobias′ direction, the kids found and identified caddisfly larvae, scuds, riffle beetles and more. While some of the children were disgusted with the crawlies, others were fascinated. "I like bugs because sometimes they′re easy to catch, and they′re harmless," one little girl said as she attempted to scoop up a water-strider.

After tallying up the different bugs and classifying them as pollution sensitive, somewhat pollution tolerant or pollution tolerant, the group discovered that the stream they were investigating, which was Walnut Bottom Run behind College Hill, was much cleaner and pollutant-free than it appeared.

A number of Geneva College′s science faculty teamed up to make Science Week a success. Chemistry professor Melinda Stephens and physics professor Keith Willson helped older kids perform experiments with lights, and biology professor Dr. David Essig used mice to teach the youngest attendees. The students also studied fossils with computer science professor Leila Wallace and used plaster to create their own. In addition to Thursday′s stream excursion, Tobias taught her group about tiny creatures that live in the soil and took them on a nature observation scavenger hunt.

"Besides teaching them about science and the world around them, we want to give the kids some exposure to Geneva College and higher education," explains Tobias. "For most of them, education after high school isn′t part of their world."

Science Fun Week was part of the Hayes Summer Youth Program, a free six-week program for kids in Beaver Falls. Challenging youth to develop creativity and responsibility, the program uses a variety of activities to show them the importance of making good choices and how those decisions can affect their world. Geneva College participated along with local organizations such as T.R.A.I.L.S. Ministry Inc., Next Generation Ministries and the Public Housing Authority of Beaver County.

Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College′s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).