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Posted: December 22, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Knowledge gained through experience

Rocky Plains students participate in a chemistry lab at Oxford College

Photo by Tisa Smart Washington/

Mix it up: (Above) Dustin Morgan, 7, mixes solution together to make crystal snowflakes in an Oxford College chemistry lab Wednesday morning.

 Students at Oxford College shared their campus with little scientists from Rocky Plains Elementary School this week as the elementary students, who are a part of the county’s Quest program, had the chance to work in the college’s science lab.

 "This is a great opportunity to come up here and have a college professor show them these things. They’re in a real lab so they can discover what real inventors do," said Veda McManus, who along with Linda Smith, teaches students in the Quest program, a county-wide program for gifted students.

 The Oxford visit underscores the program’s focus this year on inventions and inventors.

 "We’ve been taking our students through experiments so that they can discover how to make inventions or to study other inventors. We had the opportunity to come to Oxford lab to actually study some chemistry," McManus said.

 Brenda Harmon, a senior lecturer who teaches chemistry at Oxford and runs the lab program, conducts the program for students at Palmer-Stone Elementary every spring, but it’s the first time the students from Rocky Plains have participated in the workshop.

 "Kids need more opportunities to get excited about science and it’s nice to see when they get excited about it," Harmon said.

 Students listened to a presentation on the different stages of matter and got a chance to create crystal snowflakes.

 Student Dustin Morgan, 7, said he enjoys being in the Quest program and had a good time working in the lab at Oxford.

 "I love science. I like doing the experiments," Dustin said.

 In addition to offering the program to the students at Rocky Plains, Oxford College recently donated six college lab-quality microscopes, including a dissecting microscope, to the school.

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