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Hands-on Projects Turn Children Into Scientists for a Week

April 1996

We're all scientists," says NSF Director Neal Lane. "We're born with an innate curiosity about the world around us. And if this curiosity is properly nurtured it will grow and thrive and enrich each person's life.

"At NSF we believe it is important to nurture the natural interests of children -- and the child in all of us -- about the wonders of science and technology," says Lane. "That's one of the reasons that more than a decade ago we produced National Science & Technology Week (NSTW)."

During the week of April 21-27, schools, community groups, colleges and universities, businesses and industry, and professional societies will engage in activities to bring the wonders of science and technology alive to millions of children and adults in the United States and around the world.

With the theme Design Connections Through Science and Technology, this year's NSTW activities focus on invention, exploring nature, and designing solutions to problems.

NSF uses the week of special events and teaching materials to link actual experiences in the world with the experiences of learning the processes of science and engineering. NSTW's Teaching Activities packet, including such activities as Nice Threads!; Derby Day; and Shake, Rattle and Roll, provide a full range of opportunities for youngsters age four and older. The students are encouraged to observe the natural world and to collaborate in designing ways to enhance it.

The packets, written in English and Spanish, are distributed through NSTW's regional and international networks which include schools, and such groups as 4-H, Girl Scouts of America, and the National Urban League.

Hands-on experiments--such as examining the ups and downs of gravity, or finding out what it feels like to break the sound barrier in an Air Force simulator -- have been a hallmark of NSTW since its beginning in 1985, but these activities are only the start. Once students, parents, and teachers are excited by the process, NSF expects them to pursue their interest through further science, math and technology studies.


Ask a Scientist!

Students, teachers and parents can speak to leading scientists on the NSTW hotline April 22-27 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Scientists expect to answer questions such as:

  • How are bridges built over a body of water?
  • Why is the sky blue? and
  • Why do ships float but rocks sink?

Watch for Breakthrough: People of Color in Science

The NSF-funded PBS series highlights the contributions of African American, Latino, and Native American scientists and engineers. The six-hour show will air April 8, 15, and 22.

For more information write:
National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd., RM 1245
Arlington VA 22230
On the World Wide Web: http://www.nsf.gov/

NSTW Corporate Sponsors

  • AT&T
  • Bayer Corporation
  • Discover Magazine
  • Ford Motor Company
  • IBM
  • Merck Institute of Science Education
  • 3M

NSTW Associate Members

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Heart Association
  • American Institute of Physics
  • Chemical Manufacturers Association


Return to April 1996 Frontiers home page   Other Contents of This Issue
Visit Other Frontiers Issues page   Other Frontiers Issues
Visit Other NSF Publications page   Other NSF Publications
Visit Office of Legislative and Public Affairs page   Office of Legislative and Public Affairs


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