CORA kids win at science fair

Ask CORA kids in the 4th grade what a gizmo is and they’ll tell you it’s generating an interest in the scientific method via outreach (GISMO). What? Let’s take it from the top.

GISMO is a program that started in September 2014, when Griselle Morales, Director of Licensed Pre-School and After-School Programs, reached out to Bill Wuest, a member of the science department at Temple University. Together they devised a plan for youth from CORA Services Northwood Academy after-school site to visit Temple University once a month.

The purpose would be for CORA kids to learn the scientific method and conduct experiments alongside Temple students who were finalizing an experiment of their own to submit to the George Washington Carver Science Fair.

Soda explosions

Katie Bennett, Site Director at Northwood, has gone with four 4th grade students to Temple University each month since September.

In the first four months the youth engaged in an exciting project that caused candy mints and soda to react chemically and explode. In another experiment the children used scientific method to build cushioned vessels to protect raw eggs from splattering when dropped from a balcony.

Entering the new year meant preparing kids for the George Washington Carver Science Fair. Each youth picked a topic for the experiment. They recorded scientific steps and information collected throughout the experiment into journals. Graduate students from Temple University, along with Katie and the youth’s parents, conducted the experiments and created displays for each one. Two of the Northwood students won 3rd place in their category.

“This project was a great accomplishment, not only for the students but for our agency as well,” Katie said.

Bill Wuest was awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER Grant in April, in part for the outreach program with CORA Services and through the George Washington Carver Science Fair.

The George Washington Carver Science Fair encourages urban youth to pursue academic achievement and careers in science. Due to the success of the partnership and receipt of the grant, CORA Services will partner with Temple University to continue GISMO into the 2015-2016 school year.

CORA Services is a ministry of Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America.

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website