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Encouraging Kids to Consider a Future in the Health Sciences

By Carmen Howard
Visiting Asst. Regional Librarian
UIC Library of the Health Sciences at Peoria

Peoria Academy of Science bookletThe University of Illinois at Chicago’s Library of the Health Sciences in Peoria has a long history of outreach to local youth. So when we were asked to participate in this year’s Peoria Academy of Science’s Treasure Hunt, we immediately said yes!

The Science Treasure Hunt is a summer program with the goal of encouraging students to explore science and technology while learning more about careers in the sciences. The program is open to 1st through 8th grade students who are eligible to win prizes if they attend at least eight of the Science Sites. The Library and the College of Medicine are pleased to be one of the 21 Science Sites featured this year and the only health sciences site.

Each site designs its own fun treasure hunt experience with 3-5 questions to answer. Activities range from a hosted tour by the Air National Guard to a completely self-directed experience at the Giant Oak Park (home to a 300-year-old tree). Working with the College of Medicine, the Library designed its Science Site to highlight the Peoria campus and to provide a short lesson on the circulatory system. Our site asks kids to follow a set of instructions to find answers to four questions. The experience includes finding a book in the stacks, reading about early experiments with frogs, watching a short online cartoon, and more.

This year’s program has just begun and runs until September. We hope to report back at the end of the summer on the success of our first treasure hunt!

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