Stimulating Science: GLRC offers after-school learning

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette Local kids interact with fish at a Michigan Tech after-school class at the Great Lakes Research Center.

HOUGHTON — Introducing local kids to sciences in a hands-on enjoyable way, the Great Lakes Research Center has been hosting after-school classes since the facility opened.

“I think it at least enriches the children and relates to the world, and it’s things that they experience, and it’s done in a very hands-on way. They’re not having quizzes and tests,” said Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

The classes are split into three grade levels — 1-2, 3-5 and 6-8 — covering different topics every few months. There is a participation cost for the classes.

The January and February classes wrap up this week, ending with investigating amazing animals, rockets and geographic information systems.

The youngest kids ended their amazing animals class by getting an up-close look at fish housed at the center. Students were shown how the fish are fed, tracked for research and identified.

The fish were met with excited shrieks, and a few students conspiring to eat the research specimens.

“I love to eat perch,” commented one student.

“He’s cute,” another added.

Instructor Denise Landsberg has taught this grade level many times on and off, often teaching the same students.

Though this set of six-session classes is ending, more are coming following spring break.

At this point, a class on the chemistry of food is planned for grades 6-8, focusing on the science of food rather than a traditional home-economics course.

For grades 3-5 the next topic will be geology and earth sciences.

The topic for the first- and second-grade class is yet to be determined.

Chadde hopes the classes will help kids develop an interest in STEM and sciences.

“I think parents definitely see the value of their kids having enrichment and being able to do things they can’t normally do in a class of 25 or 30 students,” Chadde said.

She sees high levels of enthusiasm from young students that keeps them coming back. Chadde wants to use the research center to benefit the community, building on the Michigan Tech resources, experts and facilities.