A STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Science Fun Day is coming to Philadelphia Elementary School Friday, promising something loud and extremely messy all in the name of science, specifically physics with 30 volunteers participating including parents.

Dr. John Hunt, a Mississippi College Professor of Teacher Education and Leadership, who started this program over 17 years ago, has been traveling to schools like Philadelphia all over Mississippi for the past 12 years getting parents involved in being loud and messy, too.

 STEM Science Fun Day is an interactive, hands-on learning involving children and parents. Over the past 12 years, Dr. Hunt and his wife, Catherine, have provided this fun learning opportunity using mostly ordinary objects and materials to over 50,000 Mississippi students and have trained over 5,000 parents to conduct Science experiments, in the process.  

Thirty volunteers consisting of parents, community members and Philadelphia Beta Club students will gather in the gym at Philadelphia Elementary School at 5:30 p.m. this Thursday to learn the specific science experiment they will demonstrate the following day at Philadelphia Elementary School..

 Chiquita Jones initiated bringing Dr. Hunt to Philadelphia as a result of what she learned in PPS' Parent Engagement Program (PEP), formerly known as the Parent Leadership Institute.

"I grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Philadelphia High School," Jones said. "Both my parents were educators in this school district, my father-in-law served on the School Board here, and I now have fifth grade twins at Philadelphia Elementary School. I have a deep love for this community and our schools. As a parent, I want my children to have the opportunity to grow up and become whatever they want to be.

As a nurse, I want them to have the opportunity to go into the field of medicine, if they want to, and also the opportunity to work in the medical field right here in Philadelphia, if they so choose. That requires great learning on my children's part, but also great learning opportunities, too. Parents and the community can help our schools provide great learning opportunities like this STEM Science Fun Day," said Jones.

In PPS' PEP training, Jones learned about student achievement data, specifically what's known as disaggregated data, how to identify barriers to learning in homes, schools and communities, but more importantly, how to address those barriers that lead to gaps in student achievement levels.

"I learned that helping our schools provide great learning opportunities would help more children than just my own. I also knew that helping more children learn results in improved schools, and that improved schools mean a stronger community," said Jones.

 Approximately 30 stations will be set up and ready for science demonstrations this Friday. Dr. Hunt even thinks the weather will cooperate nicely which will allow him to bring two additional demonstrations that will be conducted outside.

"We're going to fire a Squid rocket and a ping pong ball cannon!" he said. "They're both really loud. The Squid rocket uses water pressure and the cannon uses an air vacuum. The first time I did these two demonstrations at a school, the police showed up because of the noise and the flames. I hope they show up Friday because kids are always engaged in learning when lessons involve fire and explosions!"

For more information about STEM Science Fun Day at Philadelphia Elementary School, contact Chiquita Jones (601) 650-8811 or chechej5@yahoo.com, or contact Philadelphia Elementary School (601) 656-1623. For more information about Parents for Public Schools (PPS) and/or the Parent Engagement Program (PEP), contact Becky Glover, Parent Coach in the east central MS area for PPS National, at (601) 207-2209, bglover@parents4publicschools.org, or explore PPS National's website: www.parents4publicschools.org