Kent State Geauga Cultivates Hands-on Experience for Local Students
For faculty members at Kent State University at Geauga, a commitment to stimulating curiosity in the educational process helps secure the future academic success and effective problem-solving abilities of local students.
Over the last three years, Kent State Geauga has had the privilege to serve as a facilitator and host for area middle school students involved in the Arthur Holden Leadership Institute.
The institute provides a unique opportunity for students to experience leadership enrichment classes in science and mathematics. Students begin with a recommendation by their teachers in their respective middle schools and apply for a three-year commitment. The program consists of meetings and after-school learning sessions that prepare them for field trip activities at various locations. The focus is to discover new ways to think about water, soil and energy.
Kent State Geauga professors play an important role in the hands-on soil experience for the seventh-graders. Students from Chardon Middle School attended the campus session in November followed by Heritage Middle School and Madison Middle School on different days in February.
Sue Clement, Ph.D., and Jodi Naji, Ph.D., both associate professors at Kent State Geauga, along with John Majernik, a lecturer from Kent State University at Salem, led interactive activities focused around earth science and horticulture. They discussed the definition of soil and what sediments help classify types of soil.
“I helped the students to measure amounts of macronutrients in a community garden soil sample,” Dr. Clement says. “The tests use color-indicator tablets to estimate the amount of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus in water samples that had soil added. This testing allows students to make connections between nutrients and plant requirements, and if the soil needs to be amended.”
Whether the students are in their classroom or on field trips, the institute’s emphasis is on active participation and working with diverse people, such as fellow students on a team or an expert in a particular field. It also emphasizes communication and leadership, while improving math and science skills, thereby increasing the likelihood of future academic success and effective problem-solving abilities.