Physics Made Simple A Hit With Elementary Students - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/13/05

Physics Made Simple A Hit With Elementary Students

It's a teaching program that transforms the complicated laws of physics into lessons even a child can understand.

Each year, Starbase Atlantis draws hundreds of children to the Gulfport Seabee Base where fifth graders are introduced to different aspects of math, science and physics.

The program has some children rethinking their attitudes about these subjects.

If superman can glide through the air, then so can these fifth graders from St. Thomas Elementary. A homemade hover craft is designed to teach children about air pressure.

The students say science has never been so much fun.

"Before, I thought it was boring because we were always in the text books. But here we don't have any text books and we get to watch and learn and having fun at the same time," Taylor Anastasio said.

"You're not actually reading, you're learning by watching experiments," said Whitney Marie.

Starbase Atlantis brings aviation based physics down to the basics making it easy for youngsters to understand and to try on their own.

Instructor Keith Agee said "We call it kitchen science. A bottle. A boiled egg. Paper, in many cases. We reduce it to something the child could produce at home."

Not all lessons are academic. Specially made goggles give students a sense of how alcohol and drugs can make simple tasks like walking a straight line difficult.

"When you had the goggles on, everything looked like it was on the left but it was on the right," said Gavin Boomer, a fifth grader.

Instructors want children who come to Starbase Atlantis to leave inspired.

"We tell them that dreams, plus action, equals reality," said Agee. "They learn that they can do things. Even things they thought would be difficult."

There's no charge to participate in "Starbase Atlantis" and the program isn't just for students. Teacher seminars are also held over the summer.

by Danielle Thomas

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