By Rose O’Connor | Correspondent
“I am so excited,” Trenton Catholic Academy third grade student Sophia Navarro said as she put on a brand new white lab coat. “It feels like I am a real scientist about to do a special experiment!’
Navarro, along with her fellow third and fourth grade students in the Hamilton Township Lower School, are, in fact, part of a special experiment this school year.
Trenton Catholic Academy is partnering with Mad Science of West New Jersey to test a hypothesis recently posed by Lower School director Anne Reap, “Do clothes make the scientist?”
According to Reap, the students will wear their lab coats during their Project Lead the Way STEM classes, and when they participate in the Mad Science after school programs. At the end of the year, they will evaluate if having the right clothes helps make the scientist using test scores and student and teacher feedback!
“We are anxious to see the results of this study. The students are excited to wear their lab coats during their STEM lessons and activities in the classroom and during their after school activities. We have a strong STEM curriculum and tools like the lab coats enhance our academic program and get the students even more excited about learning,” Reap said.
As stated on the website, “Mad Science Group Inc. has franchises located around the world, who bring science education to millions of children each year. Our innovative programs help kids learn about science through our fun after-school programs, preschool programs, in-class workshops, camps, birthday parties and special events.
Mad Science programs encourage scientific literacy in children in an age when science is as vital as reading, writing and arithmetic.”
Instructors from Mad Science staff an extracurricular club in TCA during the school year and are also eager to be a part of this learning experiment.
Mad Science of West Jersey donated the lab coats to the school students.
Mad Scientist Radioactive Rick, who has worked with students at TCA for a number of years, was pleased to visit the students and distribute the donated lab coats to them.
“Now you look like real scientists,” he said.
His colleague Jen Wolder, also known as “Geo Jen,” expressed the company’s eagerness to participate in the study.
“We hope that the lab coats will inspire the next generation of scientists!” she expressed.
Although the data will not be available until the spring, it seems that the students at TCA are already feeling the effects of wearing their lab coats when performing experiments.
“I feel like a real Mad Scientist,” said third grade student Isabel Feliciano.
Her classmate, Nathalie Villavizar, added, “I am very excited, I never had a real lab coat.”
Fourth grade student Luis Betolini also liked donning the professional duds. “I feel like wearing the lab coat made me smarter, the experiment seemed a little bit easier,” he offered.
Reap is thrilled with the use of the lab coats by the students.
“I am glad to see the students actively engaged in their STEM lesson and so eager to learn. They are so excited and that makes me very happy,” she said.