Dr. Janet’s Science Saturday fun for kids and parents at ASU West Campus

June 27, 2006

By hammersmith

[Source: Laura Houston, Arizona Republic] — For Janet Painter, the big payoff in giving up the occasional Saturday to teach a science workshop comes when kids can count the hairs on an insect’s leg. Or see how their pulse changes after doing 25 jumping jacks. Or how the eye flips images upside-down before they are righted in the brain. That’s why Painter, an instructor at Arizona State University at the West campus, has been offering a series of Saturday classes so families can learn together in a college laboratory this summer. “It combines three big aspects of my life I really enjoyed – science, theater and teaching,” Painter said.

Normally, she spends her time schooling biology students on how to read and write reports. To say it’s tedious work is an understatement. Telling kindergartners about dinosaurs, flight and music on a Saturday afternoon energizes Painter. And it gives children something to do other than go to the movies all summer long, said parent Cheryl Snyder-Roy. She wanted her 7-year-old and 12-year-old to get more interested in science, and thought Painter’s teaching style was engaging enough to get the job done.

A little lecture mixed with lots of hands-on demonstrations and PowerPoint presentations held the attention of not only Snyder-Roy’s children for two hours, but that of Mom herself. “You’re experimenting in a lab. That’s really impressive to children. They want to be able to apply it to real life,” Snyder-Roy said Wednesday. Although the classes are geared toward children ages 5 to 11, Snyder-Roy said her 12-year-old still learns new things from sessions about bone structure, DNA or plant life. [Note: To view the upcoming class schedule, click here.]