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Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Hospital helps students become scientists for a day

Marshall Medical Centers helped make scientists out of 20 students attending English Learners Camp this week.

Wearing blue lab coats donated by the hospital, the kindergarten through 6th grade students performed scientific experiments that made them giggle and then left them speechless.

“The goal is for them to practice speaking English,” says Anjanette Arnold, the EL teacher at Guntersville Elementary who led the two-week camp. This is the second year of the camp, which Arnold hopes to stretch to three weeks next summer.

Arnold first showed students that oil and water doesn’t mix by adding baby oil to water that had been tinted blue. Students shook their water bottles then watched the liquids separate again. They turned the bottles on their sides to create waves.

The next experiment demonstrated what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar. Arnold put the two in a clear bottle, then stretched a balloon over the mouth of the bottle. Her students were awed when the balloon inflated.

Then students created their own “flubber,” a visco-elastic material inspired by the movie of the same name.  They combined glue with green coloring, water and borax to make gooey, stretchy, sticky blobs. They loved it.

Before Science Day, campers toured Citizen’s Bank, Domino’s, Cathedral Caverns and a petting zoo. They learned about the life cycle of a butterfly, planted seeds and visited the Guntersville Public Library.

“We want to give them experiences they would not otherwise get,” says Arnold.

Campers are selected from the school’s English Learners class, whose members speak a language other than English at home. The group includes Haitians, Hispanics, Vietnamese, Chinese and Indian.

Arnold works with EL students 30 minutes each day during the regular school year. They practice English, reading, vocabulary and blending words.

“I’m just supporting what the teachers do in the classroom,” she says.

When asked what they liked best about camp, Amy picked computers. Emely said her favorite part was going to Domino’s where each student got to make their own pizza.

EL Camp ends at noon with students being fed lunch. Each got to take home a lab coat, flubber and a lanyard donated by the Foundation for Marshall Medical Centers.

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