CADY hosts second-annual Math and Science Day

Emily Koenig

Fifty-four first- through fourth-grade students took over Science Hall and Briggs Feb. 21 to participate in CADY’s second-annual Math and Science Day.
The students, divided into small groups of 10 to 15, rotated through five stations sponsored by different Lawrence student groups. Each station had a 25-minute activity to challenge the children’s curiosity and teach them scientific and problem-solving skills.
The student organizations manning these stations this year were Greenfire, American Medical Student Association, Math Tea, also known as math club, BOMB Squad and Anthropology Club. Last year’s participants also included Biology Club, Chemistry Club and Food Club.
CADY co-founder Jessica Bonsall said of the event, “I hope the kids got a better idea of how scientists go about tackling problems by asking a lot of questions, identifying potentially false assumptions, making hypotheses and accurately observing the environment.”
Math and Science Day was designed by CADY in coordination with Arts, Music and Writing Day to promote a liberal arts education. However, the group had additional goals in mind when creating these events.
“We wanted something that would bring together the campus and enhance the campus community,” said Bonsall. “We decided to do this by having different student organizations lead stations, rather than CADY members, and having student volunteers be group leaders.”
CADY seems to have succeeded in this goal – there were over 30 group leaders at Math and Science Day this year and so many volunteers they had to turn some away. The group leaders led students from station to station, making sure they were safe and having a good time.
According to Bonsall, much of the credit of the event’s success must go to Janice Ruechel and Professsor Alan Parks of the Office for Engaged Learning. With a goal of outreach to the community originating in coursework, the Office for Engaged Learning oversees programs such as CADY, ArtsBridge and Children’s Theatre.
Parks, a professor of mathematics and the first director of the Office for Engaged Learning, helped CADY contact elementary schools to make sure attendance would be high. Ruechel, who also works in the president’s office as budget and special projects assistant, helped with bookkeeping aspects of the project.
CADY’s upcoming events include the complementary Arts, Music and Writing Day. Together, the group hopes the events will convey to the children a sense of the scope and benefits of a liberal arts education.
“As cliché as it sounds, we want the event to be a fun learning experience,” said Bonsall. “So often, kids dread homework and school; we wanted to provide a refreshing reminder that they don’t have to hate learning. Then, hopefully, we’ll contribute to the process of turning these kids into confident and driven young adults.