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Partnership with Siemens and Susquehanna Health spend time at Ashar

By Staff | Mar 15, 2011

Students at Ashkar Elementary are working on soil testings to determine the amount of absorption with Siemens and Susquehanna Health.

HUGHESVILLE – Introducing real world science into the classroom is a new initiative for Siemens, a company that is one of the world’s leaders in electronics and engineering. From March 1-4th, Ashkar Elementary School, second through sixth grade classes and their teachers, participated in a variety of science experiments made possible from a collaboration between Susquehanna Health and Siemens.

Volunteers from Susquehanna Health and Siemens started each day with a group session and video followed by a series of technology based hands-on experiments using materials developed by Scholastic, Inc. Each class worked on different activities each day of the week from super soaked soil to rock formations to chromatography.

The company is the primary holder of Susquehanna Health’s technology computer systems with hardware and software storing patient data according to Tracie Witter, public relations coordinator with Susquehanna Health. They want to engage elementary and middle school students in science and math in the early stages of the learning process.

Kathy Lomaskin, a program director with Siemens located in Malvern, PA was in the classroom everyday at Ashkar working with the students. “Our corporation has partnered with Discovery Channel to develop these science lesson plans that we are using in the classroom,” explained Lomaskin. “We work with hospitals to choose from a portfolio of lesson plans for various age groups. We come up with 3 or 4 different ones for the various grades,” she said. “I am here in Lycoming County everyday during the week working exclusively with Susquehanna Health,” she said while explaining how she had to learn everything about networking systems as well as other operations such as lighting systems and automated tracking systems. “We also own Sylvania Light Bulb Company, x-ray machines, CAT scanners and MRI machines. “Eventually the hospital has plans to go paperless, but everything is digital right now,” said Witter.

Mary Barns who is an RN and nurse recruiter from Susquehanna Health and has a student at Ashkar, helped to organize and coordinate the event at the school. “We want to expose the kids to nursing and science. These are good careers,” Barns said. Students enjoyed the activities and were working with partners and in groups to do testings and evaluations. The students learned to draw conclusions during their follow-up experiments. “I really learned a lot,” said Luke Ergot, a 5th grader. “I learned that gravel doesn’t hold water as well as soil,” he said. And Derrick Horne who wants to be an engineer someday, added what he learned after his experiment, “Clay doesn’t absorb water. It doesn’t go through clay.”

Emilie Detweiler said, “I think it was a lot of fun. Hands on, I get to figure out what to use if you plant a garden,”

“I like science. I thought it was fun and our group worked pretty good with teamwork,” said Caitlyn Shoemaker.

Siemens Science Day is a commitment to encourage the next generation to develop greater knowledge, skills and self-confidence in science, mathematics and technology.