Children’s Science Center
515 West Blvd • Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone: (605) 394-6996 • Fax: (605) 394-6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2002
Contact: Julie Smoragiewicz, SDSM&T Vice President for University Relations
‘Out of the Box’ Education
Science Center & Parent Group to Offer After School Program
As the educational funding crisis deepens in South Dakota, a group of parents have teamed up with the Children’s Science Center to create an unusual new after-school program that will challenge the most able elementary and middle school students in Rapid City.
Initiated by Parents for Rigor and Relevance in Education (PRRE), Nature��s Elements will integrate science and the humanities to focus on a single topic each year related to science and public policy. Appropriate to a drought year, water will be the focus of the program in its pilot year. Students will study the nature and ecology of the Rapid Creek watershed. They will get dirty investigating the geography and geology of the creek. With their eyes on the courts, they will look at laws and regulations that affect the use of water from the stream. To quench their thirst, they will learn about water quality and the science of public drinking water systems. Finally, to understand the stream in context, they will look at the cultural significance of the watershed and study major events that have affected the stream such as the 1972 flood.
Over four years, Nature’s Elements plans to cover each of the basic elements identified by Western and Lakota traditions as essential to our world – water, fire, earth and air. In the process, PRRE and the Children’s Science Center hope to provide an exciting, team-building program for students in Rapid City who want a more challenging curriculum.
Nature’s Elements was developed in response to a survey conducted last spring of parents of elementary children in the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program in Rapid City. The survey documented the need for academic enrichment programs for able learners.
In their responses, parents expressed their desire for either a semester – or year-long
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after school program that would provide their children with a challenging educational opportunity. They also wanted opportunities for their children to participate in enrichment programs, particularly in science. According to PRRE spokesman Eric Abrahamson, “We tried to think out of the box to create an academically challenging program for Rapid City’s children.”
“We are very excited about this program,” Julie Smoragiewicz, vice president for university relations at South Dakota Tech, said. “It will offer a deep learning experience that combines classroom instruction with real-world experience in the natural environment and the community. It’s the kind of after-school program that many parents and students have been looking for.”
The Children’s Science Center is now accepting registrations for the Nature’s Elements program. Discounts are available for this fee based program to families with two or more participants from the same household and to members of the Children’s Science Center. A limited number of scholarships are available to students with financial need. Payment options also are available. For more information, contact Julie Smoragiewicz. Registration forms are available at the Children’s Science Center and on-line at www.hpcnet.org/elements. The priority deadline for registration is October 18. Due to the limited space available, early registration is encouraged.
An informational meeting is scheduled at the Children’s Science Center for Thursday, September 26th at 7:00 PM to discuss the program. Registration forms will also be available.
The Children’s Science Center provides children, families and educators of the Rapid City area with interactive exhibits and programming in informal science education. Parents for Rigor and Relevance in Education is an independent community organization founded in 2001 to develop and promote educational opportunities for able learners.
For more information, contact:
SDSM&T & Children’s Science Center
Parents for Rigor and Relevance in Education (PRRE)
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.