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Student Scientists Start at a Young Age

Picture of Grace Noone
Student Scientists Start at a Young Age
by Grace Noone - Friday, May 29, 2020, 8:43 AM

The excitement and love of science burns within Anne Hutchinson students who had the ability to participate in the IBM Research Family Science Program this winter in Yorktown Heights and now continue to take classes online.IBM scientists teaches fourth grade students from Anne Hutchinson.

Fourth grade students from Eastchester gained a greater understanding of how science interacts with the world in which they live. 

“It's important for young children to engage in this type of learning. It makes the process enjoyable by involving both students and parents with hands-on demonstrations,” said IBM Family Science Coordinator Grace Kaplan. “The virtual sessions are interactive; the students have the opportunity to answer questions from the instructor and they can also ask questions.”

Students from 30 elementary schools are currently enrolled in or about to delve into a variety of topics that include computer programming, polymers, states of matter, electronics, algorithms and kitchen chemistry.

Fourth grader Alex Donovan attended the three-hour science workshops at IBM Research Headquarters in Yorktown on Saturdays and he is also involved in the virtual learning sessions. He learned about algorithms, a set of instructions to help solve problems, by creating logic-based patterns using Skittles candies.  He also participated in the kitchen chemistry, polymer, sound waves and electronics workshops.  “I enjoyed kitchen chemistry the most,” said Alex. “I liked mixing the ingredients together and finding out about acids and bases as the liquids turned colors.”

Fourth grade students from Anne Hutchinson learn at IBM using Skittles candies to teach science.Alex’s mother, Laura Donovan, leads IBM’s Life Sciences Industry, and has sponsored students for the Family Research Program for years. She is excited to see her own son and his peers thrive while taking part in the activities

“I am proud of this program. The students have had the opportunity to experience hands-on science in a fun and unique way and they have loved every session. It is so important to bring these advanced concepts to younger children at an appropriate level. their interest and they will continue with science as they move into high school and beyond,” said Donovan.

Parents are encouraged to attend both the in-person and virtual lessons with their children. The students can view the on-line classes live or through recordings.  

More than 60 IBM scientists volunteer to teach the students.  High school students, many who attended when they were in elementary school, also assist the younger students in the lab.

For more information about the IBM Research Family Science Program visit: