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GSK Science in the Summer™ Returns Virtually for Summer 2020 in Partnership with The Franklin Institute

Free STEM enrichment program allows students to take on the role of chemists – lottery for free science materials opens June 29, 2020.

Issued: Philadelphia, PA

GSK Science in the Summer™, a free summer STEM program that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, returns this summer as an entirely virtual offering with a new theme: Be a Chemist!

Traditionally held at local libraries and community-based organizations, this new online format for 2020 in response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic ensures that GSK Science in the Summer™ can continue to offer high-quality, interactive STEM learning for its 34th year. With experiments available online, this year even more students entering second through sixth grade can participate at a critical time in their education journey and following the disruption of the 2019-20 academic year.

The all-new curriculum invites children to play the role of chemists by practicing real scientific techniques and exploring basic principles of chemistry—including being water chemists who clean a polluted river and being materials chemists who design a new slime toy. The program provides opportunities for students to embody science careers, think scientifically, use real science tools and techniques and have fun.

Families in the five-county Greater Philadelphia area selected as part of a lottery will receive a science kit complete with the necessary materials needed to perform one of the hands-on chemistry experiments at home. Through accompanying online videos, educators from The Franklin Institute will guide students through how to set-up their at-home lab space safely and share more about the hands-on chemistry research project they’ll be exploring at home as they take on the role of one of four different scientists: water chemist, medicinal chemist, materials chemist or color chemist.

After conducting their experiments at home, students will join a live virtual research meeting with a Franklin Institute educator to share results from their chemistry research and reflect on how they each were like scientists. As the culmination of the program, all students will be invited to experience a virtual chemistry show performed live by The Franklin Institute in August.

The Franklin Institute will be giving away 2,500 kits of science materials through an online lottery, for families to complete one of the Be a Chemist! activities at home. Interested families can enter the lottery to win a kit of science materials beginning at 12:00 PM on Monday, June 29, 2020, at http://scienceinthesummer.fi.edu/phila. Families who are not selected in the lottery can still experience the full virtual program by gathering simple science materials from home, most of which can be found in the kitchen. All activity guides, materials lists, lab notebooks and videos will be freely available on the website and live events will be open to any interested families who have completed the at-home experiments.

Provided by GSK in partnership with The Franklin Institute and administered at science centers across the nation, this fun, 100% free STEM enrichment program helps prevent the summer slide and keeps students engaged with learning through hands-on activities that will help ignite a lifelong passion for science. The program reaches more than 23,000 students at 26 organizations across the country* each year.

“We hope that GSK Science in the Summer™ programs continue to inspire more children to put on their goggles and explore the wonders of science. Our goal is to encourage students, particularly those from populations underrepresented in the scientific community, to pursue STEM career paths later in life,” said Becki Lynch, Director, US Community Partnerships at GSK.

GSK Science in the Summer™ was created more than 30 years ago in Philadelphia as part of GSK’s commitment to supporting diverse and equitable participation in STEM education and careers. Each year, it has continued to grow and improve to remain fresh, engaging and relevant for children across the country.

This summer, Philadelphia-area children will join thousands more GSK Science in the Summer™ students nationwide as they learn the importance of chemistry in fields as varied as medicine, manufacturing, art, and environmental conservation through fun, hands-on, age-appropriate experiments taking place online and at home, rather than in local libraries and community-based organizations.

“Now, more than ever, science matters. Engaging students early on in STEM is critical to fostering the next generation of scientists and innovators, and one of the best ways we can prepare students for lifelong success,” said Dr. Darryl Williams, Senior Vice President of Science and Education at The Franklin Institute. “By going virtual this summer, the program is poised to reach even more families in many different areas across the country, making an even greater impact. We continue to be proud to partner with GSK to make STEM learning accessible and engaging for students in Philadelphia and beyond.”