Imagine having the opportunity to talk to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, or instead of sitting in a classroom, taking a trip to a skating rink to learn about the physics of skating.
Or what if there was an opportunity to listen to a physician from The University of Texas Medical Branch who specializes in artificial organs?
Students in Clear Creek ISD’s Science Magnet Program at Seabrook Intermediate get to experience all of that and more during their three years with the program.
If a $487 million bond proposal is approved by voters in May, district officials say they will spend $10,273,515 to expand Brookside Intermediate with both classrooms and science labs in order for the district to open a second science magnet program.
Each year, the program at Seabrook Intermediate turns away about 200 students who apply to the program. Depending on the year, there is on average about 250-350 fifth grade students who apply. The program accepts 100 students from each grade level.
“Our goal is to bring more science to more children,” said Jan Larsen, science magnet liaison.
The students who apply don’t have to be straight A students, but they do have to be passionate about science, she said.
“These are the kids who are digging around and exploring in their ditches, finding snake skins and bringing them into class,” Larsen said. “They’re the kids asking questions about the world around them and wanting to know more.”
The program is open for students in sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade from every intermediate campus across the district to participate in before going on to high school.
“Intermediate school can be tough,” Larsen said. “It’s often where students lose interest in science – we want to prevent that.”
For 24 years, the science magnet program has been instrumental in inspiriting students who have a passion for science by giving them the tools to pursue their dreams and learn everything science-related they can.
The purpose of the program is to give an outlet for kids that have a strong interest and motivation in science the resources they need, Larsen said.
The school has more science-based curriculum opportunities, as well as after school programs, weekend activities and clubs that kids can participate in – all while learning about all the different fields and future science career paths.
The types of science courses offered to students is much more extensive than at other campuses. In the magnet program, the traditional intermediate school science curriculum is replaced with a variety of one-semester science courses, which students are given the opportunity to choose what they’re interested in.
Those classes include subjects like birding, anatomy, computer science, renewable resources, energy and inventors of the future. Larsen said.
Besides having more science-based learning in the classroom, magnet program students also have the opportunity to go on field trips and have many other educational opportunities other students may not get, she said.
Laurie Looper often takes her kids outside to explore Seabrook’s hike and bike trails where they get the opportunity to look for and identify different birds and other kids of animals.
“It really gets them excited about learning,” Looper said. “And it’s even more exciting to hear when they’re going home and continuing this kind of exploring – then we can come together and class and see the different animals they’ve found.”
Other trips include visiting Armand Bayou, Galveston beach and learning firsthand what an anatomical embalmer does when they’re preparing cadavers for medical students.
But beyond the fun and learning about science, the goal of the magnet program is that when students leave the program, they still love science and are passionate about it, Larsen said.
“That’s what it’s all about,” she said. “It’s all about the kids.”
The proposed bond would result in a $0.035 tax rate increase. That would equate to a $5.47 per month increase for a homeowner of a median home valued at $223.635.
To learn more about the Bond 2017 Referendum, click here.