After the final bell signals the beginning of summer, grade 4-9 science teachers in central Ohio hit the books with Otterbein University’s OP2: Operation Physics (OP2) course, which combines basic physical science concepts with hands-on material and activities. Having recently completed OP2, fifth-and sixth-grade science teachers, in the South-Western City Schools (SWCS) district, used their new knowledge to host a Physics ‘Phun’ Day to introduce their students to physical science before summer break.
“We wanted to encourage students to keep science alive this summer. Using simple objects at home and observing our world is easy, and the Physics Phun Day allowed students to walk away with ideas and questions to explore as they discover the world around them,” said Kelly Williams, a science teacher at Park Street Intermediate, who completed Otterbein’s OP2 course in 2013-14.
Ginny Brill, another science teacher at Park Street Intermediate, who also completed the OP2 course in 2013-14, said the main goal of the Physics Phun Day was to actively engage students in learning science.
“We wanted to spark an interest in science, especially physical science, because it’s an area that tends to be more abstract and difficult for students to grasp,” Brill said. “We wanted the students to be introduced to physical science concepts such as gravity, friction, potential energy, kinetic energy and so on.”
Otterbein physics majors Ben Graber, Michael Highman and Philip Kellogg used various activities and demonstrations to introduce the nearly 700 students to physical science concepts, including the Van de Graaf generator, which makes one’s hair stand on end.
“The expertise, ability to answer a variety of content-related questions, and the genuine excitement of science that the Otterbein students brought with them was such a significant part of our day,” Williams said. “Our students, teachers, parents and school are thankful to Otterbein for taking an interest and supporting the education of our students.”
For the past five years, Otterbein has received funding from the Ohio Board of Regents for OP2. This year, Otterbein held the two-week summer session of OP2 , June 16-20 and June 23-27.