Frazier demonstrates how much water goes through the
kidneys daily using plastic one-liter beakers, during
a classrom session with the SCRAMS group this past
Don Frazier works with two student assistants, Jarret
Rose (left), and Ashley Witt (right), during a SCRAMS
lesson on air and water pressure.
9, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) --
Don Frazier stands before a crowded classroom of rising
ninth-graders, a tower of 25 plastic beakers, each
capable of holding one liter of liquid, stacked on
the desk in front of him.
is 25 liters,” he said. “Do you see how
tall this is? Well, 180 liters, 180 of these beakers
of water, go through your kidneys every day!”
Not a typical classroom situation, you might say?
Such visual, innovative and engaging lessons in science
have been a daily practice for a unique education
program at the University of Kentucky.
summer, 34 rising ninth-graders have completed the
UK Chandler Medical Center and Outreach Center for
Science and Health Career Opportunities Science Camp
for Rural and Appalachian Middle Students (SCRAMS).
Students were selected based on their academic achievement,
recommendations, and application essays.
competitive program, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute, provides each selected student the opportunity
to gain appreciation for science and health, and through
this experience, elevate his or her self-image and
confidence. The pre-college initiative also has given
students an early perspective on the college experience
– students work and live on the UK campus during
the course of the program, a two-week summer science
student has attended classes focusing on organs and
systems of the human body. In addition, students have
participated in hands-on experiments, workshops, seminars,
and evening activities in an interesting, stimulating
atmosphere. Faculty members from various departments
at UK offer the students seminars on different systems
of the body, as well as specialized topics such as
genetics, pediatrics, and animal research. Even students
that don’t normally enjoy lectures and seminars
during the school year are engaged during the program.
“I don’t usually remember lectures,”
said Matthew Reed of Powell County. “But, I
do remember these. This is fun.”
and seminars are mixed with hands-on science experiments
and demonstrations. One memorable lesson, taught by
Frazier, focuses on how the kidneys remove drugs from
the bloodstream. Armed with a bucket of water and
a bit of food coloring, Frazier illustrates how drugs
enter the system and how they are removed ever more
slowly as the fluid we consume dilutes the drug/water
mixture in our kidneys, and subsequently, what we
expel through urination.
science is taken very literally at the center; human
brains and kidneys are available for the children
to view and even hold.
held a brain,” said Reed. “It was awesome.”
a professor emeritus of physiology and director of
the Outreach Center at UK, passionately has nurtured
a love of science in Kentucky’s children for
years, through programs such as SCRAMS and many others.
The community service activities of the center include
“van trips” to schools across the Commonwealth,
which bring science lessons to classes of various
more information on SCRAMS and other programs at the
Outreach Center for Science and Health Career Opportunities,
call (859) 257-6440.