One Spark


One Spark creator hopes to host science program for kids of all ages


Sheryl Dwyer, a veteran educator in the Jacksonville community, is now using her expertise to engage students in a new type of way — with a bang.

Big Bang Science is a student-centered program that encourages people of all ages to use a hands-on approach to understanding science.

Dwyer, instructor and coach of Comprehensive Thinking Strategies LLC, has entered as a creator into Jacksonville’s One Spark festival in the hopes of raising money to go toward a facility that can host this program along a variety of others. Each of the programs will vary significantly in their focus, ranging from science to history to entrepreneurial education.

This Cognitive Clubhouse will use interactive elements to help foster Jacksonville’s potential and encourage it as an epicenter for creative and critical thinking.

“It will provide Jacksonville with an incredible identity,” Dwyer said. “It will become a location for educational visionaries and change agents to reach students and teachers whom otherwise wouldn’t experience unique learning opportunities.

Dwyer hopes to find a facility located in the downtown area so that Cognitive Clubhouse can contribute to the revitalization of Jacksonville.

“It will work in conjunction with existing and future attractions,” Dwyer said, “to draw families, school children, educators, and visitors to the downtown area.”

Dwyer explained that an average day at the clubhouse might include families interacting on the science playground, fourth-graders applying the principles of physics to build a roller coaster, high school students writing code to design a robot, and even teachers in the studio learning how to enhance the way they deliver instruction.

Members in the programs would have a variety of options. Local families could get a yearly pass, whereas visitors to the area could opt for a day pass. Teachers and schools could book field trips for their students or even register for professional development workshops.

Beyond that, children and teens could participate in short- or long-term projects that could be a part of nationwide contests or local initiatives.

During One Spark, Dwyer will give visitors the opportunity to experience just one of the programs that will be offered in the Cognitive Clubhouse, Big Bang Science. She will have a variety of stations set up where people can help build a marble roller coaster, create explosive concoctions, and even make “pet tornadoes” to bring back home.

This story was reported by Ignite Media, an independent news bureau created by University of North Florida students.

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