By LAUREL WILSON, The Daily News
“I felt like I could crush them,” Tavion said.
The virtual reality screen was one of several activities Tavion and other students tried Thursday while at Bowling Green Technical College’s Interactive Digital Center.
The students were participating in the Governor’s Minority Student College Preparation Program, which aims to get children interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, said Eugenia Scott, director of the program at BGTC and also an assistant professor of communications.
“In elementary school, we see our kids excited about math and science,” Scott said. “But by high school, something has changed.”
Each year at BGTC’s GMSCPP program, Scott organizes hands-on instruction for students.
“It shows them science can be fun and shows them it’s not as bad as it really looks,” she said.
Tavion said he loves math, but hadn’t had much interest in science before the program.
“This makes it seem better,” he said.
The center develops simulation-based learning applications for use in the classroom, director Mary Helen Hendrix said. On Thursday, students used several of those applications, including interactive computer programs that helped them get familiar with microscopes and other scientific tools.
Students were most excited about the virtual reality environment. For that, students put on 3-D glasses and are surrounded by a screen that immerses them in a scene that feels real, such as a roller coaster or the solar system.
Students got excited about the activities, and in the process, they learned about science and math, Hendrix said.
“It gives them ideas for possible career futures,” she said. “It shows them that there are other ways to learn things. You can actually learn while having fun.”
Ronald Pilgram, 13, of Bowling Green, said he’s not really that into science, but the virtual reality program was fun.
“People use games to learn because some people don’t like to study with books,” he said.
Xavier Patrick, 11, of Bowling Green, said he likes science because you get to discover what makes up the world. His favorite part of Thursday’s program was wearing 3-D glasses and seeing different landscapes.
“It was just like it was just right in front of you, and you could touch it,” Xavier said. “It was really realistic.”