April 4, 2003

Granger Students Spend Saturday in the Classroom

Seventh Graders Experiment at Engineering and Science Day

Instead of spending a warm San Diego County Saturday at the beach or the park, 25 Granger Junior High seventh graders chose to go to school. The students were invited to attend the school’s Engineering and Science Day to dabble in physics and chemistry—and get the chance to win a free computer to take home with them at the end of the day.

Those who attended are reaching great academic heights through the Sweetwater District’s Compact for Success program, which guarantees them admission to San Diego State University if they meet rigorous benchmarks. Only students who had met all of their goals so far were eligible to participate in the event.

The day’s workshops were designed to spark interest—and that they did, according to Principal María Castilleja. Scientific principles and fun were combined at the event to give students a glimpse at some of the interesting fields they can choose from in the future. Participants competed against each other to build a boat out of aluminum foil. The boat that could hold the most pennies and stay afloat earned its designer a prize. In another workshop, students built towers out of toy construction pieces, with the tallest design winning an award. Yet another activity involved students and slime—always a winning combination—in which students learned how to use common ingredients to make the slippery concoction.

An Inside Look: Workshop participants are taught about computer components and how they operate.

After hours of constructing and mixing, students were taught about the components of computers and what they are used for. These same computers, donated by the Hispanic Society of Engineers, were a key component of the most exciting part of the day. Of the 25 students who were invited to participate in the Engineering and Science Day, 10 won a computer to take home—for free.

Sweetwater Board President Arlie Ricasa commented, “It’s exciting to see our Compact for Success students rewarded for their efforts. Sometimes it’s hard for seventh graders to see the big picture and how the work they do now affects what they’ll be doing in six years. This is a great way to remind them that their efforts pay off big!”

Granger Junior High is planning to have another event like this one in the near future. But for now, there are 25 students who have a better understanding of what the world of science can offer—and the knowledge that it is within their reach.

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