Campus: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo -- January 21, 2005

Video Brings Excitement of Science and Math to California Classrooms

The Cotchett Foundation and Cal Poly Aim to Reach Nearly 1.5 Million Students

A privately funded video, designed to stimulate and excite young students to learn more about science and math, is being mailed to each of California's 5,465 public elementary schools.

The video is designed for third, fourth and fifth graders, with the potential to be seen by nearly 1.5 million California kids.

The Chemistry Magic Show video and teacher's guide were privately funded by the Cotchett Foundation and produced in conjunction with California Polytechnic State University.

The video was conceived and funded by Burlingame attorney Joseph W. Cotchett and his wife, Victoria, in collaboration with Philip S. Bailey, Cal Poly's dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, and his wife, Christina A. Bailey, professor and chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.

Its purpose is to inspire students to become California's future science and math teachers, technology leaders and innovators.

"This hands-on instructional package will expose students to the wonders of science and mathematics," said Warren J. Baker, president of Cal Poly. "It will stimulate noble dreams and ambitions, as well as provide the knowledge and skills for excelling in college and careers."

The video features Professors Phil and Tina Bailey performing exciting chemistry experiments with the help of dozens of fourth-grade students. An accompanying teacher's guide includes brief explanations of the demonstrations and offers directions for additional experiments that could be done in class or at home.

The Baileys have performed chemistry magic show demonstrations for young people for more than 35 years. One recent group was the fourth-grade class of Jaime Cuello at Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe on the Central Coast.

"The kids are really into science now. You can feel the excitement. Their participation in the experiments made the difference - it opened their eyes to the world of science," Cuello said.

The Cotchetts have donated $2 million and bequeathed an additional $5 million, creating a unique public-private partnership to support science and mathematics teacher education initiatives at Cal Poly.

"We want to motivate our young students, especially those who are disadvantaged, to look to science and math as career paths. We want to inspire their ambitions," said Joe Cotchett, who graduated from Cal Poly in 1960 with an engineering degree.

The 50-minute, professionally produced video is an offshoot of the Cal Poly-Cotchett partnership and was funded separately by the Cotchetts from their other gifts.

"Science and math form a basic understanding of how the world works, which is necessary in every future endeavor - from balancing a checkbook to the use of computers - as well as understanding consumer products," said Victoria Cotchett.

The video is introduced by Jack O'Connell, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer and inventor of the personal computer.

In his introduction, Wozniak says, "My favorite subjects in school were science and math. Teachers and parents made me feel proud about that. Eventually I wound up designing the first personal computer and helping co-found Apple Computer Co. Today we have computers in our lives, our work, our home and our schools. So remember, math and science are important to you."

Contact: Stacia Momburg, 805-756-6260


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