Swinging Girl

Science Story Time Opens Windows of Opportunity


The Challenge

Imagination Station’s mission is to serve our community by providing informal science education and fun in order to spark a passion for the sciences. Donor support and grants help us achieve that mission. We are especially passionate about serving those in our community who are most at risk of being left out of STEM education opportunities. The fact is, children who are more likely to be growing up in poverty are less likely than their wealthier peers to be exposed to science education. In 2016, only 28.5% of Toledo eighth-graders were proficient or higher in mathematics and only 35.3% were proficient or higher in science. 

Imagination Station's Response

Children need strong school readiness skills if they are to succeed. With science, studies show that children must be interested early if they are to make the choices that will lead them to STEM careers. Imagination Station designed a program that engaged preschoolers and kindergartners through a storytime that included hands-on, interactive activities and the opportunity to engage in high-quality dialogue. The program also included a field trip to the science center for the opportunity to explore Imagination Station and participate in a workshop. Through this, we are able to reach around 90 preschool and kindergarten learners a week over a period of 16 weeks.

What We've Achieved

The results are in and once again, through generous grants, we were able to see statistically significant and meaningful results. According to the evaluation company, MetriKs Amérique, the storytime was “engaging for students, and included high-quality interactions (both during the story time and science activity) between the facilitator and students.” The program also “seemed to improve students’ interest in science, and their comfort level with asking and answering questions during school activities.”

With the help of donor funding, we hope to continue the program and open more windows to opportunities for the students of Lucas County.

"What Do Scientists Do?"

Imagination Station posed the question, "What do scientists do?" before the start of the program and after the program concluded. As you can see below, the responses after the program related more closely to what scientists actually do than before the program. 

Before the program:

  • Make potions
  • Make ovals
  • Look at stuff
  • Do math
  • Do reading
  • Potions
  • Talk to grownups
  • Do volcanoes

After the program:

  • They build things
  • Look at fossils and bones
  • Build towers and buildings for people to live in
  • Mix potions that heal people
  • Wear hard hats
  • Build stuff

What Teachers Say

"I think this years [sic] story time is very effective and the prompts (post-its) have become more meaningful! I appreciate the time spent with us!" 

"I think this year's story time was excellent! I liked the questioning."

"The children were intrigued that animals need to keep their teeth clean too."

"The children really enjoyed the story and were very engaged in the question and answering of Mr. Cameron."

"[The students were] Singing 'brush, brush, brush' while cleaning their egg and not losing interest in cleaning the egg after a period of brushing."

"Students were excited about making new colors with mixing. Were asking for more colors and telling each other what they needed to make green and orange."

"The children were excited about the owl pellet, they were using their hands to dig through the pellets."

The students ask questions about what they learned. They also remember activities weeks later and bring it up during lessons."