Dr. Itzá introduces physics to preschoolers

Release Date: 3/5/2013

Not every university professor of physics would consent to teach a preschool class, but Dr. Salomón Itzá, associate professor of physics at Ozarks, jumped at the chance to present to the students at a local preschool on Feb. 19.

Itzá spoke to the students, who range in age from 2-5 years old, at KidsCare, a preschool in Clarksville affiliated with the local Methodist church. He discussed the physics behind rainbows.

"I love teaching these students. Honestly, I don't know what's more stressful: teaching preschoolers or presenting at professional conferences. At a conference, no one questions your work. These guys will ask questions all day," Itzá joked.

"Usually, the classes at KidsCare have a letter of the week. During 'R' week, I come to talk about rainbows. I usually talk about the way light refracts to create rainbows. I teach them about the order of the colors in a rainbow," he explained, as he unpacked his props that included extension cords, prisms and light bulbs.

As part of the Methodist church, the preschool adheres to a Christian curriculum, and Itzá was happy to oblige. He began his study on rainbows by revisiting the story of Noah's Ark, and then explained how God provided the ability for us to understand exactly how rainbows are made.

"I think it's good that the children are learning about science and religion. They can go together," Itzá said.

The kids responded well to Dr. Itzá's explanations and quickly learned the colors of the rainbow, but the highlight of the presentation came when Itzá broke out his "rainbow glasses," simple paper glasses that refracted any light source in the room, creating little rainbows over everything. The kids went wild with "oohs" and "aahs," and Itza was gratified that he was able to introduce them to even a small amount of physics.

"The teachers at KidsCare do such great work that I'm happy to help out when I can," he said.

Dr. Salomón Itzá teaches about rainbows.

Associate Professor of Physics Dr. Salomón Itzá explained the science behind rainbows during a recent presentation for preschoolers in Clarksville.