News 12 This Morning / Friday, June 8, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Some Richmond County middle schoolers are blasting off into a new adventure this summer through a summer enrichment program. This year's theme for the IDEA Program is "Space Odyssey."
On a sunny morning, the children were out with sunscreen in hand, but they were in class -- not summer vacation.
"Right now we're working on our sunblock experiment," said Rujean Verdree, a rising eighth grader.
With pencils and paper ready to go, class is in session for Richmond County middle schoolers working in the IDEA program.
"One, I wanted to make new friends and learn new stuff," said Alexander Stair, also a rising eighth grader.
Thirteen-year-old Stair is already learning new facts to go along with this year's "Space Odyssey" theme.
"I learned that Pluto was not a planet," he said while looking distraught. "Guess it got too small."
Titania Singh, the lead teacher for the program, said, "What we are attempting to do is take those students and spark a fire in them for that subject."
To keep the facts fresh in their minds, students learn with hands-on experiments. Most days, they are outside of the class without a single textbook.
"It's fun, it's not school. That's the whole twist. They are not sitting in desks, not being lectured to all day long. They are getting up, using their brain, their hands and getting outside and enjoying the summer," Singh explained.
The two-month program also includes language arts, math and art classes that will incorporate space.
"Yeah, it's fun. Let's us know more about the sun, more about space, how it travels," Verdree said.
"I'm normally a science person," Stair said.
He is hoping to start eighth grade with a head start instead of forgetting what he learned in school over the summer. The IDEA program is free for students to participate. At the end of the year, they will build a replica of the space station to cap off the "Space Odyssey" theme.