Assembly celebrates science, new digital textbooks

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Whether it was an eruption of Diet Coke into the air caused by the mixture of Mentos, or the creation of an electric current, students in Thornton had a new outlook on science Sept. 5.

“I used to not like science, but after the assembly I’m starting to like it,” said eighth-grade participant Justyce Meeks. “Being able to be a part of learning science in a physical way is really fun, instead of just listening to someone talk about it.”

The STEM Launch school assembly was made possible by the Morgridge Family Foundation and Discovery Education and featured interactive activities illustrating science concepts connected to everyday life. Lead by Discovery Education scientist Patti Duncan, students in grades 5-8 were entertained by the subject of science learning that science can be cool and exciting.

Duncan stressed to students the importance of being making observations and asking questions in and out of the classroom.

“To be good science students, you always have to be watching and asking questions,” she said. “You should be thinking about why something works, how something works and what it affects.”

The assembly was a celebration of a new textbook program students are using this year made possible through funding from the Mortgridge Family Foundation.

Instead of traditional paper textbooks, students are using Discovery Education’s digital science textbook series, which brings learning to life through audio, video, interactive text, digital simulations, virtual and hands-on labs and an interactive glossary with animations. The series also includes model lessons and continually updated assessment component.

STEM Launch principal Kellie Lauth said the digital textbook series is the primary science resource and will be used by students every day in school and also at home.

She said the students now have a one-on-one tool through the digital textbooks.

“Students have access to so many resources now like interviews and video,” she said. “Students can even interact with experts. And another great part is the fact that the textbooks are updated all the time.”

The digital program also offers teachers full support for professional development.