City of Hope Scientists and Current Clairbourn Parents Provide STEM Lessons to Third-Graders

Noelle Shoemake
Clairbourn’s community is unique among area schools because of our emphasis on parent involvement in the life of the school. Parent engagement can boost student success both academically and behaviorally, and according to the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL), “When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.”
Students mixed paster of Paris with water, vinegar, and saltwater solutions and recorded the curing time.
Grade 3 students recently benefited from this powerful partnership when Clairbourn parents Drs. Ian and Tijana Talisman made arrangements to teach a science lesson covering the concepts of solubility, polymerization, and curing. Dr. Tijana Talisman is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at City of Hope and Dr. Ian Talisman is a scientific writer for City of Hope. The doctors chose to give two demonstrations, with wow-factor impact, including rust precipitating in water and water-absorbent polymers that sequestered copper salt. This was followed by a hands-on curing activity for students where setting times for plaster of Paris varied depending on if it was mixed with water, saltwater, or vinegar. 

Students were fascinated by Dr. Ian Talisman’s demonstration of rust precipitating in water.
Thanks to this activity, not only did students come away with a deeper appreciation for the wonders of scientific interactions, but they also learned that the adults in their life care deeply about the school and will give their time and attention to enrich their educational experience. 
In the article, “The Enduring Importance of Parental Involvement,” authors Lily Eskelsen García (president of the National Education Association) and Otha Thornton (president of the National Parent Teacher Association) write that parental involvement can take many forms. It can range from volunteering for school activities and events, developing a teacher-parent relationship, and advocating for school or educational changes, to staying updated with your child’s grades, and setting educational goals and fostering steps to achieve those goals.  Former Governor of Arizona Jane D Hull said, “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” Though it can be difficult being an involved parent, it can be highly valuable and full of intrinsic gratification as you impact your child’s life.“
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