‘Deepen their curiosity of learning’

I always find it interesting to learn about different cultures. One of the articles I wrote for the SanTan Sun News involved talking to a principal in Colombia. Of course it was all done through email, but it was interesting to learn about Marie Curie school.

Colombian students to participate in Chandler’s Science Saturday

Published Feb. 1 in SanTan Sun News

Students from Marie Curie school in Colombia will participate in the Chandler Science Spectacular this month to showcase what they are studying and to deepen their curiosity of learning .

Nine students between the ages of 10 and 15, as well as two teachers, Diana Carolina Ravelo Salazar and Estefany Jaramillo, and Principal German Rodríguez Mogollon, will travel to Arizona. They will be in the States from Feb. 19 through March 23. Chandler Science Saturday is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sat., Feb. 22, along Commonwealth Avenue.

The students will showcase five projects while at Chandler Science Saturday—extinct and endangered species in Colombia, hydroelectricity, Gorgona Island, La Candelaria and an art endeavor.

“In the school, we are very interested in the participation of our students in events of science and arts,” says Mogollon in an email statement. “Everything that awakens their curiosity and interest for knowing and discovering new things is very important. Traveling, going to science fairs, universities, opens their possibilities and encourages them to make better projects.”

The school serves 1,300 students from kindergarten through 11th grade, which is the last grade for high schools in Colombia. Marie Curie school opened nine years ago with a main goal of encouraging students to become scientists and artists.

“This decision is justified because Colombia has very few scientists and artists, compared to fi rst world countries,” the principal says. “To stimulate our students’ love for knowledge in school, we make a lot of activities.”

For example, time is set aside every week for scientifi c education, a day for students to participate in activities related to the scientifi c method. The students focus on observation, experimentation, measurement, communication and analysis.

Students also participate in “expert’s project,” which changes every year. To become experts, the students spend the entire year researching their topic, as well as fi nding experts in the field and visiting places related to that topic. Some of those topics have included cancer, space rockets, the Aztecs and hydroelectricity.

“For example, last year some students traveled to Mexico because they were experts in Aztecs,” he explains.

When the school year begins, Mogollon says, students scour books, the Internet, movies and experiences with their teacher’s leadership to decide a topic of interest.

“Next they decide on a research question and set their objectives, they carry out the theoretical framework,” he says. “At the end they report the results and draw conclusions.”

In November the school hosts a Science Week, to provide each course an opportunity to showcase its project. Conferences and other activities related to the general theme are held during that week. The principal says last year’s theme focused on water.

Marie Curie offi cials are constantly looking for ways to improve its students’ education. Last year, Academic Principal Fabiola Grisales sent an email to many universities and centers of education in the United States.

“The first in respond was Jeremy Babendure, executive director of the Arizona SciTech Festival,” Mogollon says. “They invited us to visit Arizona.”

So he and Grisales traveled to Arizona last September and met with Babendure, as well as many others who work in the science festivals of Flagstaff and Phoenix.

“We asked them for opportunities for our teachers and students,” he says.

Those opportunities discussed included courses that improve the teachers’ abilities to teach science and arts, courses to improve English, resources to teach science and opportunities for students to participate in Arizona science festivals.

‘I know exactly what I want to do’

I was invited to attend this three-day event, which I unfortunately will not be able to make because it is held in Chandler, Arizona. It sounds like a great way to bring the community together while highlighting science and technology.

Three-day festival highlights science and technology

Published Jan. 18, 2014 in SanTan Sun News

A three-day festival in February will provide a glimpse into the science and technology that makes Chandler tick.

The Chandler Science Spectacular, Thu., Feb. 20, through Sat., Feb. 22, showcases the businesses, artists, students and innovators in the community as part of the statewide Arizona SciTech Festival.

The Chandler event is comprised of three free happenings.

The Chandler Tech Crawl is 5:30 p.m. Thu., Feb. 20, and features some of the biggest names in science opening their doors to families.

Technology meets the arts during A Night of Art and Science from 6 to 10 p.m. Fri., Feb. 21, as Downtown Chandler transforms its monthly Third Friday Art Walk into a creative look at the science behind the food and drink, beauty, art and invention.

Chandler’s Science Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., Feb. 22, has interactive demonstrations by Chandler’s technology companies along with the next generation of science.

“Everything is free,” says Councilman Rick Heumann. “It’s a great event for families. It’s really to showcase what Chandler is all about and the companies that we have.”

Heumann founded the Chandler Education Coalition three years ago to bring the school district, city nonprofits and business community together to benefit students in Chandler.

“It is really designed because everyone has limited funds,” he says.

Heumann and his coalition are behind the localization of the Arizona SciTech Festival.

“More and more cities are stepping up and doing a lot more things,” Heumann says.

The Chandler Science Spectacular, he says, has been successful because of the individuals working behind the scenes.

“Chris Mackay and her team should get some major kudos,” Heumann explains.

City of Chandler Economic Development Director Christine Mackay boasts about the 3-year-old Chandler Tech Crawl on Feb. 20.

“Three of the Chandler companies open their doors and provide tours and scientific demonstrations to see the neat, exciting technology that is happening in Chandler,” she says.

Those businesses include Chandler’s Innovations Incubator, 145 S. 79th St.; Intel, 5000 W. Chandler Blvd., Building CH6; and Infusionsoft, 1260 S. Spectrum Blvd. Mackay is one of the tour guides at Intel.

“The same people come back every year,” she says. “They seem to be really engaged and excited to see what is going on in their community.”

A Night of Art and Science on Feb. 21 takes place at the historic square in downtown Chandler.

“It’s a tremendous draw for the community,” Mackay says. “It’s our best attended third Friday art walk every year.”

Downtown Chandler Community Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Lindley says her organization shows the science and technology behind people’s creative arts.

“We encourage our artists to show a little more about how their craft is created,” Lindley explains.

Typically 60 to 80 artists showcase their art and about half of them offer demonstrations. Last year there was a glass blowing demonstration and SanTan Brewing Co. showcased how to make beer.

The final event, Chandler’s Science Saturday, is Feb. 22.

Air Products demonstrated how to make a frozen fl ower for attendees during last year’s Chandler Science Spectacular, a three-day event that focuses on technology and science. Submitted photo

Air Products demonstrated
how to make a frozen flower for attendees during last year’s Chandler Science Spectacular, a three-day event that focuses on
            technology and science.             Submitted photo

“It’s a good old-fashioned science fair,” Mackay says.Sixty Chandler companies participate in the fair, which closes down Commonwealth Avenue, so the businesses can set up hands-on activities for the attendees. Individuals have the opportunity to move from booth to booth along the street while engaging in science and engineering activities.

“It’s so much fun,” she says.

Arizona State University, University of Arizona and TechShop at the Chandler Innovation Center will have open houses during the event. The Hamilton International Science and Education Festival will also have student projects on display at Hamilton High School.

Mackay remembers watching three little faces last year as they watched an orbital science group, which was the highlight of the event for her.

“You saw the look come over the three little faces: ‘I know exactly what I want to do,’” she recalls. “That moment, they knew exactly where they were going in life.”

The three-day festival, Mackay says, is a way to make sure Chandler residents understand the science behind the community.

“Chandler is strongly and deeply rooted in technology companies,” Mackay says. “Chandler is committed to technology and innovation and that is what we want to celebrate.”

For more information about the Chandler Science Spectacular, visit chandleraz.gov/science.