Author: Joshua Brown

Weekly Reports – Science

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Science classes for the first two weeks of the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshmen Science (Mr. Jimmy Newman, Instructor):

Week One:

The freshmen science students learned about the nature of science by working together and alone to experience inductive and deductive reasoning, the need for motivation to do science, generating data, collecting data, interpreting the data, the importance of communication of this data, and respect for others especially in their findings.

These things were accomplished through the historical studies of Thales, Democritus, Ptolemy, Galileo, and Newton.  The students discovered patterns in activities and drew conclusions from these patterns.  They were exposed to the wrong conclusions (logical fallacies) just as Ptolemy was.  They were tested on the scientific method.

Week Two:

This week was very busy.  I got to know the students better and they are wonderful.  They had to measure many things showing me they knew how to use the instruments of science.  We had rulers, meter sticks, tape measures, thermometers, triple-beam balances, stop watches, protractors, etc.  We finished up with the Starlab Planetarium.  They looked at constellations, colors and temperature of stars, longitude, latitude, plates, volcanoes, Native American Indian constellations, animal cell, cell reproduction, and how color effects our eyes.  Friday we have class competition.  Below are some pictures with the students and the Starlab Planetarium.

Students in front of the Starlab.

Students in front of the Starlab.

Students in front of the Starlab.

Students in front of the Starlab.

Inside the Starlab.

Inside the Starlab.

Mr. Newman leading the journey through the Starlab.

Mr. Newman leading the journey through the Starlab.

Sophomore Science (Mr. Bill Guillotte, Instructor)

Week One: 

We began our journey through the Scientific Method by preparing ourselves for safety in the lab. We watched a college chemistry lab tutorial and took notes on proper lab safety procedures, proper lab apparel, and steps to take if there is an emergency.

We continued our journey by trying to build a free standing paper tower using only 1 piece of copy paper and scissors(the tallest I have ever seen is 1.05 meters). We discussed different ideas, had many different thoughts, and lots of trials, but the tallest tower was only about 60 cm. The students didn’t realize they were using  the steps of the scientific method. We then had a discussion on the steps of the scientific method that we would be using for this class.

The next step in our journey found us using the steps of the scientific method to discover which color M&M occurs most in an individual size bag of M&M’s. Sophomore II found that the green M&M occurs most often, while Sophomore I found that blue occurred the most. Then the students ate their M&M’s. (Science can be delicious)

The next step in our journey was to discover how many drops of water would fit on the heads side of a penny. Students worked through the procedures for a total of 10 trials and recorded their data in a chart. They then used their data chart to create a graph displaying their findings. One group was able to get an average of 25 drops of water to fit on the penny. (Most of our students made an hypothesis of 3-5 drops)

We also used some time this week to transplant our tomato plants and lay the foundation for our “Tomato Plant Growth” project. We will be using plant food for our independent variable in our attempt to find a way to make tomato plants grow taller.

Week Two:

Our journey this week in Science 2 took us into the world of aerodynamics, density, and air pressure. The students hypothesized on how they could create an airplane that could fly farther. They tested their hypothesis and we had some very creative modifications. As it is with science, some worked and some did not.

We used our scientific method to discover the world of density and buoyancy. A regular egg will not float in water because the egg is more dense than the water. We hypothesized different ways to change the density of the water and discovered by adding 35g of salt per Milli-liter of water we could make the egg float.

Lastly this week, we used only air pressure to crush an aluminum can. By heating 50ml of water in the bottom of the can until it boils and then turning the can upside down in a container of ice cold water, we were able to crush the aluminum can by lowering the air pressure inside the can.

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Week One:

Week one of Senior Science was a reintroduction for many of the students to some of the basics of research design. With the combination of reviewing the material on the pretest and developing science projects; the two go together well. We discussed elements of the experimental method, including the concepts of independent variable (IV) and dependent variable (DV) and the necessity of control. I led students who have decided on science projects to evaluate if their study was an experiment, and if so, to identify their independent variable. Some students could do so, and others had not analyzed their study well enough to distinguish their general procedure from the specific elements of IV and DV. Working toward making this abstract information concrete and personal is an important step for students in this class, and we will work on it more.

Also during week one the class was split into two sections – one that are doing science projects and one that will do a group project (as they are doing either Humanities or Composition as their senior projects). The group project section spent most of the week talking about the history of science, including how the limits on access to education as well as social attitudes restricted science throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. We also explored the impact of the development of science on people’s lives, focusing on the areas of physiology and medicine.

Week Two:

Project students started to turn in project proposals and discuss their suitability for the constraints we have during the summer. Both classes discussed the underlying principles of science and proceeded to cover the various types of descriptive research and then experimental designs. One student conducting a science project is doing a survey, one of the descriptive designs, and several others are conducting experiments. My focus for the first part of the week was to lead the students conducting studies to understand how their studies match the various designs we are discussing. That is, we are trying to integrate the abstract information about science and research designs into the activities they are performing.

We ended the week with our first visit to the rat lab. In contrast to stereotypes, laboratory rats are cute, furry creatures that GPGC students are anxious to hold. So the visit to the rat lab involved some one-on-one rat-giftie contact, with no harm to either.

Three students are working on science projects in the rat lab, and students conducting studies on other topics will have the opportunity to participate in a rat study. Love those rats!


What’s on the Menu?

So far we haven’t heard many complaints about the cafeteria – and trust us when we say it used to be a lot less appealing. However, you may be wondering what your student is being offered each day – so here’s the link to the cafeteria’s website where you can see a daily menu.

You will need to use the drop-down menu at the top of the page to see the menu choices for where the GPGC kids eat. The cafeteria is called “Rowdy’s.”

This menu doesn’t include all of the things that the cafeteria offers on a daily basis including a salad bar, a sandwich bar, cereal bar, and a waffle making station.

Mid-Summer Madness Concert Announced

We have just added an event to our calendar – the annual Mid-Summer Madness Concert. This is a short concert by our Large Ensemble as well as selected students performing solos and small ensemble works. It’s at 7 pm on June 30th, 2015 and it will take place in the Tritico Theater (recently known as the Shearman Fine Arts Theater) on the campus of McNeese State University. The public is welcome to attend and there is no admission charge.

Starting a New Tradition

After the first few days of the Program it’s very rare, until the end of the Program, to see all of the students gathered in the same place at the same time. In order to create a little better sense of community, as well as to take advantage of having the students together in one place on a regular basis, we have started this summer to have a short, ten minute morning assembly before classes start each day.

It’s our plan to have different faculty and staff members, students, and invited guests share stories, wisdom, and thoughts with the students each day. We’ll see how it goes and evolves but for now, we took the opportunity to take a picture of all the students.


The 2015 GPGC Student Body (at the beginning).

Classes, Schedules, Meetings, and Rain

The first few days of the Program have gone pretty well considering the controlled chaos that is necessary at the beginning of our endeavor. The students have now had two days of their academic (morning classes) and are starting to get reading and writing assignments in them.

Yesterday they had a selection meeting for their afternoon classes – all of the afternoon faculty talked about the different classes that are being offered this summer and invited the students to ask questions and select their classes. After that meeting the rest of the afternoon was given over to auditions for the chorus, musical, and drama.

The first few days are chock full of meetings. In addition to the one mentioned above, there’s an orientation meeting the first night (Sunday) in which the rules of student life are gone over, pressing questions are answered, and the housing staff is introduced. Then, Monday night, there is a meeting about the sign-out procedures as well as a meeting about the GPGC Government where the students are introduced to the concept of the functioning, responsible government here at the GPGC as well as the consequences that may happen if the government ceases to be responsible and fails to function properly.


Mr. Brown explains what will happen if the Government fails to meet its obligations.

We’re pretty much done with the large meetings now – the students are ready to begin settling in to their summer routines. Today they went to their afternoon classes for the first time and will be able to change classes for the next few days if they’d like something different.

We also have experienced our first drenching – we thought we had made it without getting the students wet while they changed classes in the afternoon but right after dinner the skies opened and those students not prepared with rain gear got pretty wet. Please send in raincoats, umbrellas, etc. – unless it’s storming we have the students walk from class to class and they really need proper gear.

GPGC 2015 Begins Today!

Today is check-in day for the GPGC 2015 Session. A hearty welcome back to all of our returning students and an especially warm welcome to our new students. Here is today’s schedule of events:

11:00 AM – Check in for new students (Collette Hall)

Lunch on your own

1:00 PM – Check in for returning students (Collette Hall)

2:00 PM – New Student Orientation and Campus Tour (Begins in the Lobby of Collette Hall)

2:30 PM – Parent Meeting (Baker Auditorium, Farrar Hall)

5:30 PM – All Students should be back in the dorm

6:00 PM – Dinner

Welcome to GPGC 2015

We hope to use this site to communicate almost daily with parents and other interested parties. Please let us know the types of things you would like to see, and the other types of information you would like to have provided through this medium. We will try to optimize it for a mobile experience but should be easily accessible through non-mobile means as well.