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SPRING  2016           

                  VOLUME 54,              NUMBER 1



Youth Science Center is in
Room 17 at Bixby Elementary School
(across from Wilson High School)
16446 Wedgeworth Drive
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
(626) 854-9825


                            SUMMER PROGRAM NEWS

Please recommend the YSC Summer Program to your friends!
For every new family you get to sign up for classes, you will receive a $25 certificate for summer classes.  Contact us for a new family signup form.

The 2016 summer program will be from June 6 to July 8.   If you would like to receive a notice when the summer schedule is
available, please send an email to [email protected]
Families in last year's program will receive a schedule
in the mail.  The summer schedule will be available in mid-April.

For working parents we have added late afternoon science classes which will end at 6 pm.   

                          13th Annual Gala Will be October 22, 2016

Save the date for October 22nd when the YSC will have its 13th
Annual Gala at the Friendly Hills Country Club in Whittier starting at 6 pm.  Student essay winners will be presented with awards.  The
2015 high school winner's essay is given in this issue.

Our programs are only made possible by the generous support and charitable contributions of our giving community, corporate partners and foundations.  The impact vibrates for generations and inspires youth to pursue careers only once imagined.

   If you would like to make donation to support the Youth Science Center, please send to Youth Science Center, P.O. Box 5723, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745.   We thank you in advance for your support.


YSC Adds New Robot and Technology Programs

Coming this summer are classes in Sphero SPRK robotics, Minecraft, GoPro cameras, Quadcopters, Click Fusion Game Design and the new Lego Robotics Mindstorms EV3.  The popular 3D Printing Classes will add a 3D Scanner to scan objects and even the body.  The SPRK robots will be programmed and controlled by iPads.  A map making class will use the new augmented reality watershed exhibit. Be on the lookout for these classes this coming summer!

YSC Welcomes New Board Member

Congratulations to Scott Bevans of Quemetco, Inc who was nominated to serve on the YSC Board.  Scott is a vice president and plant manager  of operations at the City of Industry battery recycler.  Quemetco has been a strong supporter of the YSC since 2009.
Interactive Augmented Reality Watershed Exhibit
Opens at the YSC

  The exhibit is built around a sand box filled with Kinetic Sand, which allows students to mold and sculpt sand which holds its shape.  Students can make mountains, lakes and rivers and cause water to simulate flows which are captured by an overhead Kinect 3D video camera.   They will learn what it's like to be a geographer and geologist and the science behind Geology, Hydrology and Geography. The new exhibit was constructed by Steven Bach and Lyle Majeska and funded by the Metropolitan Water District and the Boeing Employees Community Fund.
 Below:  A first look at the YSC Augmented Reality Sand Box.  The water will appear to flow if a channel is made in the sand.   The topographic lines show elevations.  The Sand Box will be open to the public starting March 31st.  Please call Diana at (626) 562-7818 to schedule a visit.

YSC Field Trip Programs at the Pomona Fairplex

  The YSC has limited funding for school field trips to the Pomona
Learning Center at the Fairplex.  Students will learn about agriculture and participate in hands-on science classes by the YSC.  Contact Diana Padilla (626) 588-7818 for more information.

  Above:  Karla Magana goes over a soil science lesson with field trip students on March 15 at the Pomona Fairplex.  Karla is a pre-med sophomore at the University of La Verne.  She was an avid student and volunteer in our summer programs and we are fortunate that she returned to be an inquiry instructor this school year.

Science Center After School Classes 

  The YSC's afterschool programs are available to come to your school.  For more information please contact Diana Padilla at (626) 562-7818.

   Our portable Starlab Planetarium is available for during school and evening programs.  Contact Ron Chong at (626) 854-9825 for details.

Sanitation District Earth Day Event

  Join the YSC and many other exhibitors at the Earth Day Fair on April 9 from 10am to 2 pm in North Whittier in the Sanitation District parking lot.  Visitors must park in the Crossroads  Parkway North parking lot which is west of Fry's.  A shuttle bus will take visitors to the Earth Day Event.

Donations Received      
   Our thanks to the Union Pacific Foundation for a grant for STEM programs for underserved schools
and to Quemetco for general operating support.
   2015 STEM Winning Essay 

     Nature and Us - We are a Team

by Melody Wu
Alverno High School

            Humanity has dominated the earth. We see the world constantly evolving, with our advanced technology growing farther apart from mother nature. It is then that we begin to face major problems. Nature has begun to fight back against the harm we have created, with global warming, climate change, and California's drought. Although nature seems, to many of us, a silent part of our world, it holds so much power. The earth itself has given us the means of survival since our beginnings. Perhaps it is time to give back to nature after it has given us so much to sustain our world.

The STEM career I have chosen is Environmental Engineering. An environmental engineer incorporates skills and knowledge from various fields and integrates them with the basics of engineering. Engineers work with nature itself to improve our populated world, providing clean water, air, and land for organisms and humans. The one thing that intrigues me the most, however, is an environmental engineer's ability to face the pollution and harm that we have created.

As of now, California faces a major problem-drought. One solution to this problem could be a simple, widely used system known as aquaponics-a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. Hydroponics involves growing plants in water and gravel or pebbles with bacteria (Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter) that produce nutrients from processing the waste of fish. The fish come from the other half of the system, aquaculture, where many small aquatic animals are raised for the cultivation of aquatic plants and food. The system itself uses 1/10th of the water required for soil gardening. Not only will this system save our water, but it will also be a sustainable source of food. The system's incorporation of the nitrogen cycle is one example of how we can work with nature. As of now, my school has been working on this system with Pasadena City College and Caltech. However, there is still room for engineering in some features. We could find a way to input solar pumps into our aquaponics system, creating the energy needed to pump the water through the system, making it even more sustainable. With this, we would need help from an environmental engineer to create a version of this system that could be put anywhere with sunlight, find the best plants fit for the job, and a simple and economical version for everyone to use. The system could have the additions of so many factors, maybe even providing power, clean water, and more. The design and making of the system itself would necessitate the help of many other professions as well.

While working with nature is the job of an environmental engineer, nature can be everyone's friend, something to work with rather than try to change. And in the future, I hope to participate in bringing together nature and technology hopefully creating an even more advanced and holistic society. If we were born with nature, why not live with it?

 YSC Sponsored Students Receive 
LA County Science Fair Honors

Caleb Cheung is a 9th grader at Maranatha High School.  For the 2016 Los Angeles County Science Fair, Caleb presented his project titled 
"Moringa oleifera and Boswellia serrata, natural calcium
and BMP-6 inducers to treat osteoporosis". Judges awarded him first place in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology category. Caleb's favorite subject is mathematics (currently taking college algebra). He is also an accomplished musician, plays piano and viola and has won several awards.

Elisha Johnston presented his project titled Regenerative Medicine in vitro: Investigating the Effect of Prolotherapy on Cell Growth. Judges awarded him honorable mention in the pharmacology division. Elisha is a 7th grader at Lincoln Middle School and has attended YSC summer classes since the first grade.

   Cal Admission Applicants Exceed 100,000

The number of students seeking admission to UC Berkeley has climbed steadily for years, but applications for 2016-17 have set a record, breaking the 100,000 mark for the first time in the campus's history.

A total of 101,655 prospective freshmen and transfer students have applied for admission, up from about 96,000 student applicants a year ago.
The figures were released today (Monday, Jan. 11) by the University of California Office of the President, along with application data for all campuses in the UC system. Detailed data for all campuses is available online.

Beyond the strong student demand for a UC Berkeley education, the increase reflects admissions officials' expanded outreach efforts in California. Consistently ranked among the world's top universities, the campus attracts applications from throughout the state and around the globe.
New freshman applicants numbered 82,539, a 4.7 percent increase over last year, while transfer student applications reached 19,116, an 11 percent increase. The academic quality of this pool remains as strong as ever, with freshman applicants achieving an average GPA of 3.67 (unweighted) and an average SAT composite test score of 1945.

The increase in applications came from both California residents and students outside of California. And the applicant pool remains diverse. There was no decline in applications among any ethnic groups, with African American and Chicano-Latino students showing the strongest increase in applications, 6.7 percent and 5.6 percent respectively, indicating strong interest in attending Berkeley.

Campus officials have not yet determined how many enrollment seats will be available; such details will be determined in the coming weeks. They do know that more California residents will be enrolled on UC campuses in 2016-17. In fall 2015 the UC regents approved a plan to increase enrollment of California undergraduates at UC campuses by 10,000 over the next three years, including 5,000 freshmen and transfer students in 2016-17.

Additional admissions changes are occurring or have occurred at the Berkeley campus level. For the first time, UC Berkeley will be providing some student applicants with early notification that they have been admitted. While most prospective freshmen will learn of their admissions decision March 24, up to 2,000 students will be informed of their acceptance to Berkeley on Feb. 12. This group of high-achieving students will include students selected to interview for Berkeley's most prestigious scholarship, the Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship. The earlier notification will allow top students more time to explore the option of becoming a Berkeley student.

This admissions cycle also gave more freshman applicants the opportunity to submit letters of recommendations as part of the review process. Such letters are requested when officials believe a letter will benefit the review process, but students are free to decline and not submit letters. "We're grateful for the time and energy that counselors, teachers and others have taken to write letters of recommendation," said Amy Jarich, a UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor and director of admissions. "They have been strong advocates for students."

The changes regarding early notification and letters of recommendation do not apply to transfer applicants, who will learn of transfer decisions April 29.

The campus has also made changes to its Global Edge Program for freshmen, which launched in 2015-16. Last year, about 60 students spent their fall semester with fellow freshmen in London. For 2016-17, the program will include more freshmen and will expand to include Rome and Madrid.

Keeping Up With Bill Gates

Subscribe to Bill Gates personal blog as nearly 27 million other people are doing and read his comments on people he's met, what he is learning and book reviews.  


For a list of Bill Gates'  6 good news stories of 2015, click  here.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is amazing at explaining science. He also makes a great argument for why science matters. Earlier this year, inspired by the short and eloquent Gettysburg Address, he made his case in an equally short, eloquent speech.   What did Lincoln do to promote science?  View the answer at Tyson's speech here .
                         Columbia Memorial Space Center

BIG Science Fest -- Saturday, April 2nd  10:00am-5:00pm
LA's only and biggest science festival!  Join the CMSC for hands-on activities, food trucks, live music, rocket launches, and several of their STEM related partners from the Southern California region.  Admission is FREE this day, so bring the family out and join the rest of the community in celebrating the exciting world of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!
12400 Columbia Way,  Downey 90242

Carnegie Science Lecture Series

April 4, 2016  A Southern Window on the Universe.  Research at the Las Campanas observatories in Chile.

April 18, 2016  A Short History of Planet Formation:  An exploration of the
4 inner planets.

May 2, 2016  Exoplanets.  Planets outside of our solar system.

May 16, 2016  The Secret  Lives of Galaxies.  The evolution of galaxies.

These are free lectures held at The Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino.   Space is limited.

Reservations are obtained from this  link.  Lectures start at 7:30 pm

How The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids

The Atlantic Magazine,  Jan/Feb 2016
Erika Christakis, Yale University

Step into an American preschool classroom today and you are likely to be bombarded with what we educators call a print-rich environment, every surface festooned with alphabet charts, bar graphs, word walls, instrumental posters, classroom rules, calendars, schedules, and motivational platitudes -- few of which a 4-year old can "decode," the contemporary word for what used to be known as reading.

In response to the Common Core Standards kindergarten guidelines, much of the days are now spent on what's called "seat work" and a form of tightly scripted teaching known as direct instruction formerly used mainly in the older grades.

An evaluation of Tennessee's public preschool system found that although children who had attended preschool initially exhibited more "school readiness"  skills when they entered kindergarten than did their non-preschool attending peers, by the time they were in first grade their attitudes toward school was deteriorating.  And by second grade they performed worse on tests measuring literacy, language and math skills.  The researchers concluded that overreliance on direct instruction and repetitive, poorly structured pedagogy were the likely culprits; children who'd been subjected to the same insipid tasks year after year after year were understandably losing their enthusiasm for learning.

The best preschool programs share several features:  They provide ample opportunities for young children to use and hear complex, interactive language; their curriculum supports a wide range of school-readiness goals that include social and emotional skills and active learning; they encourage meaningful family involvement; and they have knowledgeable and well-qualified teachers.

The real focus in the preschool years should be not just on vocabulary and reading, but on talking and listening.  We forget how vital spontaneous, unstructured conversation is to young children's understanding.  By talking with adults, one another, they pick up information.  They learn how things work.  They solve puzzles that trouble them.  Sometimes, to be fair, what children take away from a conversation is wrong.  They might conclude that pigs produce ham, just as chickens produce eggs and cows produce milk.  But these understandings are worked over, refined, and adapted -- as when a brutal older sibling explains a ham sandwich's grisly origins.

For the entire Atlantic article, go to this link.
                       Covina Chalk Festival to Benefit Autism - April 9th

48th Ag District News

48th Ag Logo 

Read the latest 48th Ag Spring 2016 newsletter here.   The feature story is "4 Reasons to Include Nutrition Education in your Classroom."  The annual student exhibit fair will be May 17 - 21 at the Pomona Fairplex.

The 48th DAA office is located at Building F10 Farm Road, Mt San Antonio College Campus, 1100 N Grand Avenue, Walnut 91789. They have a wide variety of agriculture resource materials available to teachers.  Teachers who receive the materials agree to have their students participate in the annual fair in May at the Fairplex in Pomona.   Phone (909) 274-2433 for more information. or go to

Galster Park Nature Center Craft Activity

Saturday, April 2.  Students will decorate pots and plant seeds in them from 1 to 3 pm at the Galster Park Nature Center, 1620 Aroma Drive in West Covina.

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Youth Science Center
[email protected]
http://www.youthsciencecenter.orgGray Stripes


Visiting the Hacienda Heights Youth Science Center

The Youth Science Center operates a hands-on science center at Bixby Elementary School in Hacienda Heights.  The Center is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 2 to 4:30 pm.  Visitors should check in at the school office first to get directions to our location in Room 17. 

During the school year the YSC is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm. Please call ahead at (626) 588-7818 if you wish to visit.
Visiting guests can also enjoy the Youth Science Center store, which is stocked with various science related materials.  For more information regarding the Youth Science Center please call (626) 854-9825.
The official newsletter of the Youth Science Center is published February, April, June, October and December.  The Youth Science Center was founded in 1962 in Fullerton.  The Hacienda Heights branch was established in 1984.  The Youth Science Center's Tax ID Number is 95-2273238.  




YSC Board of Directors:                                       Youth Science Center Staff:
Chairman: Ron Chong                                            Museum and Summer Director: Diana Padilla
Vice-Chairman:  Roger Huynh                                 
Treasurer:  Philip Teders                                      Summer Principals: Phyllis Vandeventer and Dee Rathman
Victor Wu                                             Summer Registration:  Caroline Weatherford  
Members of the Board of Directors:                     Star Lab Instructors:  Patricia Smith and Lyle Majeska
Scott Bevans
Piyusha Perera                                                
Vicky Soong                                                          Sales Associate:  Haley Chappell
Derek Rojas                                                          Member at Large: Rolin Soong , Kim Bach, Pat Smith, Judy Chong  
Phyllis Vandeventer                                               Administrative Aide: Kevin Torres
Victor Wu                                                             
Thaminda Ramanayake                                           Project Manager:  Diana Padilla
                                                                             Project WET Instructor:  Nicole Hermann