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Press Release

Metro State Roller Coaster Classroom

40+ Camp Students Learn Physics at Elitch Gardens

Contact: Contact: Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-5136, Cell 303-870-7705
On-Site Contacts: Jimmy Naccaratto, Elitch Gardens, 303-572-4522

Posted: June 17, 2011

WHAT: The Center for Math, Science and Environmental Education at Metropolitan State College of Denver enters its 15th year of organizing the Summer Science Institute camp for middle school students 5th through 8th grade. The four two-week camps, June 6 through July 29, 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 $300 per student and scholarships are available based on need. To apply visit


WHEN:   Friday, June 17, 2011 • 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Auraria  (North Classroom 1608)                         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 24,000 students, Metro State is Colorado’s leader in educating undergraduate Coloradans. The College now offers master’s degrees in accounting and teacher education, and will offer a master’s in social work starting fall 2011. The College enrolls the highest number of students of color among four-year colleges in the state. It boasts more than 70,000 alumni, the bulk of whom remain in Colorado after graduation.

About Elitch Gardens
Located in the heart of downtown Denver, Elitch Gardens Theme Park and Water Park features the most thrilling rides and family entertainment in a five-state region. From coasters, water slides and family-friendly rides to live shows, daily entertainment and an all-star summertime concert series, there is something for the whole family to enjoy.´╗┐