Experiments in real world education

11 16, 2011 by L'Observateur

LAPLACE – East St. John Elementary School’s Partner in Education, Marathon Petroleum Company LP provided an excellent hands-on opportunity to the school’s students. Marathon employees volunteered their time to provide a Science Expo for the third-graders at the school. This science day took the learning out of the classroom to under their breezeway.

The school’s third-graders rotated to several different stations, which were coordinated and run by Marathon employees. The various stations included creating Alka-Seltzer rockets, using polymers to absorb liquids, building electric motors using a battery, performing exothermic and endothermic experiments, making glow-in-the-dark slime and examining fossils.

Jerry “Texx” Galloway, ESJE principal, said the significance of having Marathon employees share these experiments with his students is tremendous. According to Galloway, the benefits are three-fold.

“First of all, we’re building community relationships. Marathon’s employees have made a commitment to the students of ESJE and this experience allows them time to get to know our kids on a one to one basis. The value of these personal relationships cannot be measured,” said Galloway.

He also feels the expo allows the students to relate their classroom experiences to “real world” events. This allows them to make plans for the future and to see how they can one day fit in and become an integral, contributing member of society.

Last but not least, the students benefit from the resources that Marathon brings to the school, not only during the Science Expo Day but in their donation of school supplies, an annual $15,000 donation and other financial support that is beneficial to the school.

The Marathon employees intend to provide a similar Science Expo Day to ESJE’s fourth-graders during the spring semester.

“While we ensure each experiment is fun for the students, we also make sure they understand the science and math behind the experiment,” said Aspen Steib, community relations representative for Marathon’s Louisiana Refining Division. “A strong foundation in science and math are extremely important to the students’ future education, and we at Marathon Petroleum Company want the students to understand that we are here to aide in that development.”