Science dads teaching kids to appreciate the planet

October 14, 2011 (CHICAGO)

They are teaching children lessons about recycling and water conservation in hopes that living green will become second nature.

They tackle the toughest questions like: Why does the moon stay in the sky? And, where does the wind come from? All the questions your children or grandchildren have probably asked you and you likely struggled to answer.

Well, those questions are encouraged at the Kids Science Labs. It is how they are teaching the next generation to respect the planet and to "Live Green."

These youngsters are figuring out how to deal with an oil spill. First, they have to come up with a good way to stop the gushing. Then, they have to look out for the ocean animals -- cleaning them thoroughly and then returning them to a safe living environment.

It is all part of the Planet Earth and Green Technology course at kids science labs, 1500 N. Kingsbury St., in Lincoln Park. They use hands-on experiments to get children aged 2 to 12 engaged in learning.

"We just couldn't understand why kids by the time they got to middle school, they hated science. We started with that question and said one of the reasons they hate science is because they really don't know it," said Shegan Campbell, co-founder of Kids Science Labs.

Kids Science Labs is a joint venture between Campbell, a Stanford University-educated physicist and electrical engineer , and Keith Norsym, a Chicago native and mechanical engineer. The pair met in business school at the University of Chicago.

"I love seeing the kids come in and seeing the joy of learning coming into class, learning something new and having an experience that they're not going to forget," said Keith Norsym, Kids Science Labs co-founder.

In addition to nurturing an early interest in science, the men believe their approach will spark life-long habits.

"When they're 4, 5 and 6 and 7, they can actually start to exhibit practices that help all of us as society be better stewards of the environment," said Campbell.

On Sundays, the Kids Science Labs hosts parties where kids get to use ingredients like ketchup, apple sauce, dish soap and wonder bread to make "slime."

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