Written by Sam Cavalcanti, YDP
Summertime and childhood are a perfect combination, and over this past Summer, I had the chance to engage with a wonderful group of curious, inventive, and energetic elementary students at the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club Main Branch. One of the highlights of that experience, for both me and the members, was the PS Science program, which took place weekly and was run by third party volunteers, whom I assisted as they provided the children with new, invaluable scientific knowledge.
Some of the most exciting lessons included making bottle rockets, dissecting a hibiscus flower, and the time butterflies hatched in front of our very eyes as if they waited until the PS Science Tuesday timeslot to showcase the miracle of life. The winged creatures were supposedly going to exit their chrysalis–a fancy term for cocoon, as we learned that day– a few days later, but we got extremely lucky with the timing for that special event.
The members were extremely engaged– in fact, one of them, a boy age 9, was the one who initially noticed there was something unusual with our metamorphosing insects, drawing a dozen fascinated eyes to watch as the sticky caterpillar emerged with new, orange wings. I was as engaged as they were– after all, it was my first time witnessing that as well. The curiosity of a child is something contagious, and that afternoon, I observed two beautiful things– the hatching of a butterfly, and the children’s awestruck viewing of what they described as “the best science class ever”.