A standing wave machine mimics the real thing during a laboratory activity at Early Start, a Community High School District 218 bridge program designed to ease transition from middle school to high school. | Supplied photo
Updated: September 26, 2013 6:02AM
Incoming freshmen in District 218 made waves this summer during the three weeks of the Early Start program.
Equipped with PVC, string, duct tape, wiring and batteries, teacher Tarek Cattan’s students fanned across his science lab to construct wave machines.
Each group produced mechanisms that spun string in a way that mimicked waves.
“In a previous activity, students learned about waves, and the various parts of a wave. Then, students used this knowledge to create a standing wave machine, which they could then use to demonstrate the principles of frequency, wavelength, and velocity,” Cattan said.
Enrolled in Early Start, a primer for freshman year, students completed coursework in math, English and science that sharpened their skills. Nearly 200 ninth-graders attended Early Start.
“They’ve been introduced to concepts that they will inevitably see again in their science, math and English classes,” Cattan said.
Researchers have found that bridge programs such as Early Start help students adapt more readily to the challenges of high school, a District 218 spokesman said.
“Because of Early Start, they will understand what is expected of them sooner, which will make their transition from middle school easier,” Cattan said.
“Scores from the Early Start post-test showed dramatic growth in most students’ science scores. That was ultimately the goal of the program,” Cattan said.