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  CONTACT: Jennifer Sroka
PHONE: (313) 593-5644
DATE: Jan. 7, 2004

Students can explore science during "Snooping Day"

DEARBORN---The University of Michigan-Dearborn's Environmental Interpretive Center will present "Science Snooping Day" from 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7.

The free event will allow children in grades 1 through 12 and their parents to engage in outdoor science investigations designed to pique curiosity, encourage thoughtful observation and instill a love of the natural sciences.

The Science Snooping Day programs fulfill some of the State of Michigan Education Benchmarks and Standards for Science Education. Program activities will reinforce concepts children learn in school by providing a real-world context in the enjoyable natural surroundings of the campus's Environmental Study Area.

Students in the 1st and 2nd grade program will participate in "An Eye For Nature," in which they will use crayon resist art to interpret winter scenes, observe birds at a winter feeding station and take a sensory walk in the winter woods.

Participants in the 3rd and 4th grade program will explore different habitats to locate abandoned bird nests and take the nests apart to learn how birds build nests and what materials they use. Activities will include field observations, data analysis and graphing.

Students in the 5th and 6th grade program will explore the fun side of snow. Students will conduct simple investigations that reveal the characteristics of snow, such as snowflake formation, snow density and insulation properties and snow/rainfall equivalent. (If there's no snow on the ground, a substitute topic will be offered.)

Participants in the 7th and 8th grade program will study "Life Beneath the Ice," in which they'll explore the physical properties of ice at a pond and do additional investigations of living and non-living components of a winter pond. Activities will include chopping holes through the pond ice, collecting pond life and using mircoscopes to examine, observe, classify and identify the pond creatures.

Students in grades 9 through 12 will explore the interconnections between plants, animals and the winter environment in an advanced investigation of nature in the winter. Participants will use various science tools and techniques to study aspects of microhabitats and microclimates, thermoregulation, snow-insulation properties and winter mammal behavior.

All participants should dress appropriately for the winter weather as much of the program will take place outdoors.

Science Snooping Day is free, but registration is required. To register, or for more information, call (313) 593-5338 or visit www.umd.umich.edu/dept/na/scienceday.html.

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