Summer sessions at Plum library bolster children's interest in science

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Amanda Copeland's four children enjoy spending time at the Plum Borough Community Library.

“We've been here all day,” Copeland, 37, said one day last week as her two eldest children, Cheyenne, 12, and Jeremy, 10, took part in the Science in the Summer program conducted by a Carnegie Science Center instructor.

This year's summer reading program revolves around science.

“Fizz, Boom, Read!” is the theme for the children's program.

Cheyenne and Jeremy participated in the Little Scientists and Afternoon Adventures program last week while siblings Ethan, 4, and Kyros, 2, played in the children's room.

Children's Programming Coordinator Liz Kostandinu said the Science in the Summer program in which children learned about simple machines, is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and came at no cost to the Plum library.

In four one-hour sessions last week, the 17 children, who are entering grades three through six, learned about small machines including levers, wedges, wheels, screws and inclined planes and pulleys.

During the pulley session, the children in small groups built a small pulley to lift various loads that were represented by marbles.

“I am amazed at how much they know and what they can create,” Kostandinu said.

Kostandinu said each group approached the projects differently, but “they all end up getting there.”

Dylan Piel, 10, of Plum, loves science whether he is studying at school or doing activities.

“Doing this stuff shows science is interesting in a fun way,” said Piel, who is entering fifth grade at Center Elementary.

Piel said he wants to learn as much as possible because he wants to make cars when he is older.

Jeremy Copeland said science is his favorite subject.

Copeland said he decided to participate in the Science in Summer program “cause we get to build stuff.”

Amanda Serrano of Plum said her son, Damien Cooney, 10, participated in the program last summer as well.

“He had a blast,” said Serrano, 33.

“He talks about it after the sessions.”

Serrano said programs such as those offered at the library help foster youngsters interest in science and engineering.

Damien works on projects at home as well, his mother said.

“Last Christmas, he got a bunch of science experiment materials and built a space car,” Serrano said. “I hope he goes far with it.”

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2367 or

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