Gabriella Armenta, the vice principal of Marguerite Maze Middle School, became aware of a three-part science program that would give an opportunity for students to learn about chemistry in the early grades, so she presented it to the county school district and it was accepted.
Armenta will introduce the “You Be the Chemist Challenge” program to parents and students on Oct. 20 at Maze, room B4 from 6-7 p.m.
Students will be encouraged to sign up for the no-cost program, of which the chemistry challenge is the first part. This challenge offers participating students from fifth to eighth grades an academic contest in which they explore chemistry concepts, scientific discoveries, and laboratory safety.
Armenta said that the challenge program would be similar to the spelling bee or geography contests that are offered yearly in most schools.
The “You Be the Chemist Challenge” operates on the local, state and national levels, with advancement opportunities for a local student to go all the way to the National Challenge held each June in Philadelphia.
The winner from each state travels to Philadelphia with a chaperone and a nominated educator.
The second part of the county chemistry program is called “Central Elements," which is geared toward educators of kindergarten through eighth grade.
Recently, Armenta hosted a training session about the program for college students and will present the same material to educators and participants of the Monterey Bay Science Project at the University of California, Santa Cruz on Oct. 29.
An activity guide is the third part of the science program. This will provide professional development workshops for educators to learn 50 easy ways to bring science to life in the classroom.
“Some teachers were not science or math majors, so this will get teachers not to be afraid to teach chemistry, by learning from the hands-on curriculum,” Armenta said.
According to the information gleaned from the Chemical Educational Foundation, teachers will earn credits for the subject-to-school system and/or state requirements. The teachers will receive activity guides, a flash drive that includes the 50 lesson plans and supplemental science content.
Background information will help educators bring science to life in the classroom with activity sheets, answer keys and examples on how concepts connect to the real world.
Parents with students interested in the “You Be the Chemist Challenge” information night may RSVP to Armenta by email at [email protected].