Science Specialist Program
Friends supports many different programs throughout OPUSD. To find out more about the programs, please contact us!
One of Friends of Oak Park Schools’ featured programs is the District-wide Science Specialist Program. This program provides science support at all grade levels in the district. The Science program enhances in-class science learning with experiential projects where our students can touch, feel, and create science experiments in addition to book based learning.
The Science Specialist Program in Oak Park takes Science a step further and creates ties with Art programs as well making the Friends sponsored program a “STEAM” program including Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. These core subjects are a critical role in education today.
Detailed Science Specialist programs are as follows:
Why Odyssey of the Mind is Good for Kids
“The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students to learn creative problem-solving methods while having fun in the process. For more than twenty five years, this unique program has helped teachers generate excitement in their students. By tapping into creativity, and through encouraging imaginative paths to problem-solving, students learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems — great and small — for a lifetime. The Odyssey of the Mind teaches students how to think divergently by providing open-ended problems that appeal to a wide range of interests. Students learn how to identify challenges and to think creatively to solve those problems. They are free to express their ideas and suggestions without fear of criticism. The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside of the box.” While conventional thinking has an important place in a well-rounded education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively.”
- Gain 21st Century Skills
- Learn Innovation and Critical Thinking Skills
- Learn STEAM Fundamentals
- Learn Creative Problem Solving
- 2015 Problem Synopsis
- 2015 Odyssey of the Mind Program Guide
Friends of Oak Park Schools is committed to enriching the science learning for all students in the district. This support includes funding and coordinating elementary school assemblies. This year, Friends of Oak Park Schools supported the Channel Islands National Park Ranger Visits and the assembly by Friends of the Island Fox.
In previous years, Brent Nixon with Nature Talks has presented assemblies on Bears, Humpback whales and Orca at the elementary schools. Community talks with Mr. Nixon followed the student assemblies as well and provided the community an opportunity to share in his entertaining and educational performances.
Elementary School Field Trips
Friends of Oak Park Schools supports all of the field trips for the Idea to Impact Student challenge, as well as the Santa Cruz Island trip for all 5th graders. The field trips provide students with experiential learning opportunities that make classroom learning meaningful and relevant. The trips also expose students to a variety of careers opportunities and showcase businesses within the community that exemplify social and environmental responsibility.
At the local level, Friends of Oak Park Schools also supports the transportation of students teaching their Idea to Impact lessons at other schools. Research shows that when students take on the role of teacher, intrinsic motivation and engagement in the content increases.
In the month of October, all 5th graders travel by boat to see for themselves the rare and natural wonders of Santa Cruz Island. The largest of the 8 Channel Islands and one of 5 within the Channel Islands National Park, Santa Cruz Island offers authentic learning opportunities for students and parents alike. The endemic plants and animals that inhabit the island are of particular interest. The Santa Cruz Island fox is one such example. Whales and dolphins provide spectacular displays of ocean wildlife while crossing in the Santa Barbara Channel. The experience is intended to provide students a shared experience that will make classroom learning more relevant while developing a sense of community. The experience also provides a foundation for further learning experiences in middle and high school.