The John McConnell Math & Science Center of Western Colorado is a 501(c)3 non-profit, organization that was founded by John McConnell. The Center operates with a small, employed staff and a large group of dedicated volunteers who bring math and science alive for our visitors. The Center is currently housed in New Emerson School, thanks to the generosity of Mesa County School District 51. Over 68,000 students on scheduled field trips, and many families have visited since the Center opened in January 2000.
The Math & Science Center has evolved from its earliest beginnings as a volunteer effort by John McConnell with one class at Wingate Elementary School. Over a period of nine years, John volunteered his time to teach scientific principles to kids through hands-on demonstrations that he created. The effort quickly became a traveling road show, with John carrying the demonstrations from school to school in the trunk of his car, going out for over 100 miles, with an ever increasing audience. It was during these early years that the project was given the acronym SITHOK, which stands for “Science In The Hands Of Kids”. After reaching about 5,000 students per year from the car, John asked the Mesa Valley School District 51 school administration for space for the math and science center, which they granted.
The idea was to put the basic elements of science out on tables for students and adults to investigate hands-on. A majority of the stations and exhibits have been constructed in John McConnell’s home workshop, some were purchased, and others were constructed by several of our great volunteers. We are constantly changing and adding displays.