The professors keep things light and entertaining.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — It was storytime this past week at Williams College.
But the rising fifth- and sixth-graders at the college's Summer Science Lab were not being told stories. They were challenged to make up stories.
As part of the weeklong day camp, campers were assigned each night to think about a phenomenon observed in class and develop a "story" that might explain it.
On Thursday morning, the observation involved the mixing of a yellow liquid and a blue liquid to make a green one.
After talking with the three dozen youngsters sitting at lab tables in the college's Morley Science Lab, professor Dave Richardson narrowed things down to two prevailing theories: that a chemical reaction took place between the two liquids or that the substances were unchanged chemically but the yellow and blue molecules mixed together to "fool" the eye into seeing green.
"How many like that story?" Richardson said, asking for a show of hands. "So, which story is right? ... They both could be right, but usually, in science, it doesn't work that way. We either had a chemical reaction or we're getting a jumble.
"How many people think we should just vote? How many people think the chemical reaction people should win this vote? How many people think the mixing of blue and yellow jumble, that that idea should win?
"Is this how we do it in science? We just hold an election?"
No, they test, and they experiment, and that is just what the science campers get to do.
For two one-week sessions each July, Richardson and Charles "Chip" Lovett break down complex scientific concepts like — on this day — polarity, pH and the nature of chemical bonds into language the elementary-age pupils can understand.
According to the camp's co-director, Hawlemont teacher Stephen Bechtel, the 20-year-old camp is attracting children from a wider geographic range than ever. This year's sessions, held July 9-13 and 16-20, include kids from Florida, Adams, North Adams, Lee, Washington and a significant number from Pittsfield.
This year, the college for the first time offered bus transportation to make it easier for some students, and there are need-based scholarships available to defray the program's $250 registration fee.
The campers receive a morning of demonstration and interactive lectures from the two Williams profs, and in the afternoon the kids go into the lab under the watchful eyes of college students to work through the same concepts.
And on Thursday of each week, families of campers are invited to an evening potluck supper after which the campers take their turns as "professors," discussing some of the concepts they've talked about and experiments they have performed at camp.
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Williamstown Select Board Moves Toward Establishing Racial Justice Advisory Group
By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board on Wednesday moved to create a committee that will, in part, collect stories about residents' experiences with racial injustice.
But first, the board got a taste of the kinds of stories that committee might hear.
"I'm a student," Mohammed Memfis told the board. "My second year at Williams, I was in Thompson Chapel, in the basement, having a meeting with one of my student groups, and a Williamstown Police Department officer came into the chapel, specifically into the group we were meeting in. There were a group of students there, including Bilal [Ansari] and I sitting on the couch.
"A police officer basically walked in … very aggressively looked at Bilal and I, stared at us and put his hand on his holster and stared at us. Another officer came in, tapped him on the shoulder, and they left. We were like, 'What is going on?' Never heard an answer back.
Advance ticket reservations will be required at each museum. Admission will be allocated on a timed basis to provide staggered entry, consistent with the state's reduced capacity guidelines. click for more
Cecile Love celebrated her 105th birthday on Tuesday, and the town turned out to celebrate with her, even if most of the residents had to settle for delivering drive-by greetings at noon at her home on Route 7.
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The polls will open at 4 p.m. and will stay open until at least 7 p.m. for the election, in which John Notsley, the chair of the five-person Prudential Committee, is one of several candidates on the ballot running without opposition.
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