By Karen Billing
Diegueno Country School transformed into a space station for its annual Science Discovery Day on Friday, Feb. 10. Through the work of very creative science director John Bairos and Diegueno parents and teachers, classrooms where Valentine’s Day parties were being held just the afternoon before were full of glowing stars and dangling planets to create a 200-foot long Space Walk.
Each year at Diegueno, Science Discovery Day has a theme. For last year’s hot air balloon theme day, students got the chance to climb into a real hot air balloon (but it didn’t take off); this year for their space theme, they simulated a journey into the galaxy.
The day includes a full day of science exploration with various workshops. Teacher Janet Cole said the school taps into their local resources of parents who are experts in a variety of scientific fields. The parents help by conducting workshops that the students rotate to throughout the day.
“This is one of their most special days,” said Cole, noting that it comes before the President Day’s week-long holiday and no student will let their parents take them out of school early for vacation so as not to miss Science Discovery Day. “They love science. Science and math have really become a big focus here.”
Students started their day with a trip through a “decontamination tunnel” outside the school, where streamers and real mist prepped them for space. Each student received a glow-in-the-dark necklace to light their way as they entered space led by a teacher dressed as an astronaut. The whole school ended up in a dark, planet-filled room with a space shuttle on the wall for a presentation from space enthusiast Captain Robert Redman.
Students then rotated through stations throughout the day, led by parent volunteers in subjects such as squid dissection, mouse mazes, neuroscience, brains, rockets and brains.
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