Free STEM enrichment program offered both digitally and in analog format

GSK Science in the Summer™, a free summer STEM program that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, returns this summer as an entirely virtual offering with a new theme: Chemistry is Everywhere! Traditionally held at local libraries and community-based organizations, this new online format for 2020 in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic ensures that GSK Science in the Summer™ can continue to offer high-quality, interactive STEM learning for its 34th year. With experiments available online, this year even more students entering second through sixth grade can participate at a critical time in their education journey and following the disruption of the 2019-20 academic year. 

GSK Science in the Summer™, a free summer STEM program that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, returns this summer as an entirely virtual offering with a new theme: Chemistry is Everywhere! 

Traditionally held at local libraries and community-based organizations, this new online format for 2020 in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic ensures that GSK Science in the Summer™ can continue to offer high-quality, interactive STEM learning for its 34th year. With experiments available online, this year even more students entering second through sixth grade can participate at a critical time in their education journey and following the disruption of the 2019-20 academic year. 

To ensure students without access to high speed internet or devices at home can participate, GSK and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center have created packets replicating the online instruction that they will disperse at libraries and Boys & Girls Clubs while maintaining social distance and all other COVID-19 precautions. 

The all-new curriculum invites children to play the role of chemists by practicing real scientific techniques and exploring basic principles of chemistry—including the chemistry of polymers, glow sticks, and bombardier beetles. The program provides opportunities for students to embody science careers, think scientifically, use real science tools and techniques and have fun.

Families in Central NC who registered to participate in the week-long camps that typically took place at libraries and Boys and Girls Clubs a week at a time will participate during that same week this summer but at home.

Through accompanying online videos, educators from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center guide students through several activities and share more about the hands-on chemistry research projects they’ll be exploring at home. 

After conducting their experiments at home, students with access will join a live virtual research meeting with a Morehead Planetarium and Science Center educator to share results from their chemistry, ask questions about the chemistry topic highlighted in the activity, and reflect on how they each were like scientists.

All virtual content will be made available beginning in late July or early August at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s website for students throughout the state who didn’t enroll in the program to use and enjoy.

Provided by GSK in partnership with the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center and administered at science centers across the nation, this fun, 100% free STEM enrichment program helps prevent the summer slide and keeps all students including students from underserved and underrepresented populations engaged in STEM learning through hands-on. The program reaches more than 3,000 students at 50 locations across Central NC each year. 

“We hope that GSK Science in the Summer™ programs continue to inspire more children to put on their goggles and explore the wonders of science. Our goal is to encourage students, particularly those from populations underrepresented in the scientific community, to pursue STEM career paths later in life,” said Becki Lynch, Director, US Community Partnerships at GSK

GSK Science in the Summer™ was created more than 30 years ago in Philadelphia as part of GSK’s commitment to supporting diverse and equitable participation in STEM education and careers. Each year, it has continued to grow and improve to remain fresh, engaging and relevant for children across the country. 

This summer, Central NC children will join thousands more GSK Science in the Summer™ students nationwide as they learn the importance of chemistry and its applications through fun, hands-on, age-appropriate experiments taking place online and at home, rather than in local libraries and community-based organizations.

“Through the GSK Science in the Summer curriculum and online resources, we are proud to continue to serve our participants as they explore chemistry at home with their families,” says Glenda Hairston, Science Programs Outreach Manager, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. “Through our curriculum and online resources, we hope that children will be inspired to see themselves as scientists who can improve the world using their critical thinking skills, natural curiosity, and creativity.”