Dental office serves as third-graders' classroom


THIRD-GRADERS from Charles Carroll Elementary are visiting a local orthodontist this month to see how lessons in math, science, health and chemistry can go beyond the classroom.

Dr. Robert Scott, his partner, Dr. Kevin Lawyer, and a host of assistants and lab technicians are closing the office for about two hours during several mornings so pupils, one class at a time, can take a thorough tour.

"The kids have been real enthusiastic about learning about dental materials and their own health," Scott said. "They like the hands-on nature of this field trip."

Pupils walk through various stations in the office, where they have their pictures taken with a digital camera, learn how geometry is used to determine angles of the jaw and how good health habits affect bone development.

They see scrapings from their teeth under a microscope before a quick lesson in dental hygiene and germ contamination. They even learn how glow-in-the-dark orthodontic appliances are made.

"It's so nice to have businesses who open their doors to show children, even as early as elementary school, that they are learning things in the classroom that are meaningful," said Pam Blank, a third-grade teacher who organized the trip. "The kids were amazed when they learned that orthodontists use triangles and rectangles to practice medicine. They were really excited about the real-world connections."

The favorite station has been the lab, where pupils press their front teeth into a spoonful of alginate, a soft white material made from seaweed that hardens around their teeth after 30 seconds. Plaster is poured into the alginate mold, and soon the pupil's impression is a souvenir to take home.

"The trip was fun because we got to make models of our teeth," said third-grader Melanie Raines.

"I liked it because I learned a lot about teeth and keeping them healthy," said Kyle Sparrow.

"There is such a cooperative attitude in the office," said Linda Yingling, whose class visited the orthodontists Friday. "It's even great for the students to see how cooperation pays off."

Big tallies from home tour

"Exceptional." "An excellent event." "We've heard nothing but praise."

As accolades for the Westminster Holiday Home Tour pour in, so do the profits. Early estimates indicate the tour raised as much as $10,000 before expenses were paid. More than 800 people filed through homes and historic sites on Willis and Court streets for five hours Saturday and during a preview tour the night before.

Proceeds will go toward the Carroll Children's Fund, a nonprofit organization that assists with the health care needs of uninsured and underinsured children.

Westminster's first home tour took place two years ago around Belgrove Square and earned $4,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

This year seven homeowners opened their doors to record crowds. Participants also toured the old courthouse, the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, its rectory and the former chapel across the street.

Luminarias lined the streets, and musicians serenaded the crowd inside some of the homes and on street corners as well. Give or take a few sprinkles of rain, the weather cooperated, and it was an evening that deserved praise.

"The tour was not only successful, it certainly showcased one of our most historic and prominent streets," said town planner Katrina Tucker.

Tucker credited Tracey Smith, assistant town planner, and Laurie Walters, a member of the Westminster Historic District Commission, for organizing the home tour.

"They both worked so hard," Tucker said.

"We are thrilled about the success of the tour and that the group picked us as beneficiaries," said Cindy Parr, executive director of the Children's Fund. "The money that we receive will help us continue to meet the medical needs of underinsured and uninsured children."

Lisa Breslin's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 12/14/98

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