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Press Release

Metro State Roller Coaster Classroom

40+ Camp Students Learn Physics at Elitch Gardens

Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705
On-Site Contacts: Larry Johnson, Cell 720-308-3084
Shannon Good, Elitch Gardens, 303-595-4386 x 509

Posted: July 15, 2010

WHAT:The Center for Math, Science and Environmental Education at Metropolitan State College of Denver enters its 14th year of organizing the Summer Science Institute camp for middle school students 5th through 8th grade. The four two-week camps, June 7 through July 30, explore math and science in fun, exciting ways using hands-on learning in a team-oriented atmosphere on the Auraria Campus. Since the program’s inception more than 2,000 students have completed the camp.

In each camp, Metro State professors teach classes in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, earth science, aerospace, meteorology and physics. Students get to spend their last day at Elitch Garden, using the rides to perform physics research and take measurements using accelerometers.

WHY: Although the Science Institute camp predates Colorado’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – Coalition of Business and Education (STEM), their goals are completely aligned. The goal of the Science Institute is to stimulate interest in math and science education, while teaching in a more action-oriented way. Programs such as these are critical to the future of Colorado because they foster interest in skills needed by local employers for tomorrow’s workforce. This program also supports Metro State’s goals to help at-risk youth and students of color, as the College works to achieve federal status as a Hispanic Serving Institution.

HOW: The program is supported in part through National Science Foundation grants. Although other similar programs exist nationally, Metro State’s Science Institute is one of the few taught by college-level faculty. The half-day camps cost $250 per student and scholarships are available based on need. To apply visit

WHEN: Friday, July 16, 2010 • 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Auraria Plaza Bldg., Classroom M204                         9:00 – 10:00 a.m.                    
Elitch Gardens, Start Physics Project                         10:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.          
Physics Instructor Reviews Students Findings            12:15 – 12:45 p.m.
Lunch Break                                                           12:45  – 1:30p.m          
Small Group Activities (free time)                             1:30 – 3:00 p.m.                                

WHO: Larry Johnson, Ph.D. Metro State professor and founder of the Center for Math, Science and Environmental Education, is available for interviews along with students.

WHERE: Elitch Gardens (2000 Elitch Circle, Denver CO 80204)
Auraria Campus (900 Auraria Parkway, Denver, CO 80204)
For parking and directions, visit

VISUAL: Middle school children riding roller coasters and taking measurements for their physics lessons. Instructors teaching class at Elitch Gardens.


About Metropolitan State College of Denver

With more than 23,000 students, Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans, and is one of the largest four-year public colleges in the nation. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts 66,000 alumni, with the bulk of them remaining in Colorado after graduation.

About Elitch Gardens

Elitch Gardens, America’s only downtown theme park is located in the Mile High City of Denver, Colorado. Elitch Gardens is a 120-year-old tradition of affordable family fun and entertainment offering two parks in one, a family theme park and the Island Kingdom Water Park. With over 65 attractions and award-winning shows, Elitch Gardens is the top destination in a five-state region filled with thrill and adventure for everyone in the family. Elitch Gardens is owned and operated by PARC Management, LLC.