- Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2015

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) - “Whoa. He’s magic,” Camp Power kids said when David Castro turned clear water red right before their eyes during a chemical-based science experiment.

Castro, a staff scientist with Naperville-based Nalco, was in Welsh Park last month to show kids at University Village’s Camp Power that science is cool.

“At Nalco, we have a program called Science is Fun, which consists of going to schools and doing science experiments with kids,” he said. “It sometimes seems a little chaotic, moving from experiment to experiment. . But the whole idea is to teach them the scientific method.”

A DeKalb resident, Castro heard about Camp Power last year and decided to get involved himself this time, since he had been teaching with the Science is Fun program for the 10 years he has been with Nalco.

Camp Power is a free summer camp program offered to children who live in University Village, DeKalb’s low-income housing complex. Camp Power offers different programming each week, from education based programs like Eco Lab, to sports, field trips and leadership activities.

The Eco Lab program was broken into two hour-long sessions. At the first, about five 7- and 8-year-olds participated.

“OK, so now who’s going to be a scientist when they grow up?” Tiara Huggins, a Camp Power mentor, asked the kids. An enthusiastic “me” was the response.

Castro led the children through about 10 different experiments that illustrated scientific concepts such as density, bases and acids, and air pressure. He reminded them often to keep the scientific method in mind.

“Remember, the first thing we always have to do is keep our eyes open and observe,” he said. “Then we have to come up with ideas about what is going to happen, that’s called a hypothesis. We find out what will happen when we actually do the experiment.”

Castro said investing in the education of future generations of scientists was something Nalco was interested in.

But for him, it’s about teaching kids to think about the world around them.

“At a personal level, I believe this is about making us thinkers,” he said. “And making us think about how we do things whether it’s sciences or social sciences or arts or physics or anything.”


Source: The (DeKalb) Daily Chronicle, https://bit.ly/1fpVDtT


Information from: The Daily Chronicle, https://www.daily-chronicle.com

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