Those activities have left a lasting impression on Alexandria, especially the ones on weather.
“The weather stuff helps me with science,” she said. “The experiments make science more fun.”
As an older student in the group, Alexandria also gets to help others out during the after-school program. It isn’t uncommon for her to help the younger children with their homework.
Sometimes they really need it, she said.
“I volunteer to help because they just look so confused,” she said.
On a recent afternoon, though, she sat at her seat and quietly worked on her own homework. She was getting ready for a spelling test by writing the words inside flower petals she drew. Some of them are tough, she said.
She wrote out words like “hundredth” and “recommends.”
Program coordinator Marcy Brown said she’s collecting classroom data to gauge the impact of the community centers. She’s hopeful the activities will translate to better grades in school.
Anecdotal evidence suggests it will. She said one little boy in the program told her his reading level went up already.
Hoover looked around the room as students experienced science first hand. She heard their giggles and saw their excitement. They have to be learning something, she said.
“You can see the engagement the kiddos have,” she said. “And this is after a long day at school.”
Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune education reporter, can be reached at 765-454-8585 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.