Outreach to Active Minds

Monday, Jul. 21, 2014 10:15 am

At the Grant O. Gale Observatory and in parks around town, two members of the College community are making sure that children in Grinnell keep their minds working over the summer.

Arts in the Parks

Kids apply dye to their cloth under the adults' watchful eyesYou can’t miss Tilly Woodward’s glitter-covered truck, which appears in parks around Grinnell for her Art in the Parks program. Over the course of six weeks, she makes her rounds so kids from all over Grinnell have access to a high quality art experience.

With activities ranging from painting, drawing, and collage to tie-dyeing and glittering Woodward’s truck, the participants are limited only by their own creativity. Each year, there’s also a group project. “This year, we’re working on a 3-foot tall rendition of the Statue of Liberty in clay,” says Woodward. The top half, which has contributions in clay of more than 200 kids, is ready to be fired in the College’s kiln.

Some sessions are held outside the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on the College’s campus, and the kids are encouraged to take a break and cool off in the Faulconer Gallery. Those sessions as well as the Drop in and Draw events coming up later this month encourage kids to interact with art and create their own.

Summer Astronomy Program

Students concentrate as Cadmus shows a quick experiment to illustrate a pointFor two decades, physics Professor Bob Cadmus has hosted a summer astronomy program for middle school students. The three sessions have the overarching theme of life — what makes planets suitable for life, the life and death of stars, and the life of the universe.

Cadmus started the program in part to combat the socialization of middle school girls away from science, which he observed in his daughters at the time. “I wanted to create a program where girls who have an interest in science can feel supported,” he says. The program is open to all middle school students, though, and most years there’s a pretty even split between boys and girls.

Sessions consist of a lecture and discussion, an activity outside, and time spent looking through the telescope. When he’s explaining how stars are formed or evidence that the big bang occurred, Cadmus isn’t afraid to discuss complexities, but he focuses on the broader concepts and demonstrates them with everyday examples.

In the summer months that are saturated with athletic and social events, Woodward and Cadmus are happy to offer something different.