'GT' Students Get Taste of University Education

July 6, 1999

During June, UYP provided a unique opportunity for hundreds of "GT" students to move beyond the classroom into new (and fun) venues of educational -- like paleontology, bridge-building, kite-building and flying, space flight, sports heroes, robotics, cooking and French.

Not only do the students get to take part in these creative, hands-on learning experiences-all taught by experienced Baylor professors-but they also get the chance to develop social skills, and enhance their self-esteem and confidence.

Building Bridges

The 12 students who signed up for instructor Danny Wible's session on bridge-building found out there's more to construction than meets the eye. Math and measuring skills were a must, but so were being able to follow a design pattern, work in groups (or companies, in this case) and follow a budget.

After discussing the basics and budgets of bridge design, Wible acted as the owner of a lumberyard, from which students had to purchase the goods to build their own bridges, which could be no more than 30 centimeters long and nine inches tall.

The day of reckoning came on the last day of class, July 2, when the students' creations, made of only toothpicks and glue, would undergo stress tests.

"The winning bridge held between 11 and 12 pounds," Wible said. "But that test was only about a third of their grade. They also had to work within certain dimensions and follow written plans and a budget. It really allowed them to combine and develop many different skills."

What's Cooking?

If you want to know what's cooking on the Baylor campus, just ask the UYP students who learned to cook everything from chocolate chip cookies to fresh asparagus.

The 10 children who signed up for "What's Cooking," taught by Dr. Janelle Walter, associate professor of family and consumer sciences, worked hard on the last day of class to prepare a grand feast of turkey chili, vegetable stir-fry, fruit salad and cornbread, plain or with cheese.

"We spent a lot of time learning about the equipment, planning and learning how to cook," Walter said. "Most of the children didn't really know how to cook before. Most of the things we make are from scratch. One group requested a chocolate cake, so we allowed them to use a mix for that."

Walter, who is also teaching several Baylor summer school classes, said this class has been hectic, but she enjoys teaching students how to cook.

"The age group is comfortable, and I like to introduce them to the subject area," she said. "Maybe some of them will choose to major in this area in college. Cooking is an important skill for children to learn, and good eating habits are important to develop at an early age."

Throughout the two weeks of class, each student had a cooking partner. Ashley Chandler, 9, and Claire Cole, 9, were definitely a dynamic duo in the kitchen, working together to make a chocolate cake and getting plenty of chocolate on their aprons in the process.

"My favorite class is cooking," Chandler said. "In cooking, you can make bigger messes, but the bad part is you have to clean it up. Vegetables are my favorite because there's less to do, and it's an easier clean up."

Agreeing with Chandler, Cole said she doesn't really enjoy cleaning up the mess, but she was ready to go home and help her dad with dinner.

"My dad cooks most of the good stuff at home, like spaghetti," Cole said.

As the girls were putting their cake in the oven, they did not neglect the most important step in baking a cake-they begged the professor to let them lick the bowl.

Another cooking team chose a more heart healthy item to include on their menu. Scott Thrower, 9, and Kelly Thomas, 8, spent the morning making fresh asparagus and cauliflower.

"It was the only thing left, but we still like to cook it," Thrower said. "I kinda like veggies, but cookies are my favorite thing we made. One of the first days of class we made chocolate chip cookies, and that night, I made chocolate chip cookies at home too."

Thomas said her personal favorite was the corn they made. After taking this class, she said she knew how to cook several different items.

"Sometimes I help my mom at home with chicken and dumplings," Thomas said. "Now I can go home and cook, instead of just watching TV."

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