News & Journal Staff Writer


Learning Options, Inc., of Fairmont, will again this year present its five Saturdays of science and art workshops – one each month on the second Saturday for five consecutive months, starting February and running through June.
“Science Saturdays” and “After Art” are designed for children from 8 to 14 years of age to create an active hands-on, project-based educational experience, said Learning Options Executive Director Mary Ellen Sullivan.
Science offerings and art experiences are presented at different times of day – science from 9 a.m. to noon and art from 1 to 4 p.m. Students must register and pay for each separately, Sullivan said.
Learning Options, a nonprofit established in 2002, is dedicated “to promote and expand in-depth study and exploration focused on the needs and interests of learners in our region,” she said. “On a shoestring budget and with the assistance of numerous volunteers, we have gradually built our program offerings.”
Sullivan said this five-month science and art line-up will offer students high-level content in an engaging style, kicking off on Valentine’s Day with learning about the science of music in the morning and/or making your own musical instrument in the afternoon art session, both titled “Proportions and Harmony.”
Other Saturdays presentations are: “Water, Water!” on March 14; “Exploring Math in Nature” on April 11; “The Biology of a Dairy Cow” on May 9; and “Hands on Sound” on June 13.
Sullivan said that while the science and art workshops are presented and billed separately, the theme of each on a particular Saturday complements the other.
“We want to excite our participants and, thus, create a new generation of life-long learners who are better able to analyze information and problem solve,” Sullivan added. “Our programming touches the lives of hundreds of youths each year. Through fundraising, donations, grant writing and intensive volunteer participation, LOI keeps fees reasonable and programming accessible for many families in our region.”
She noted that instructors for all the presentations are highly qualified in their respective fields, in academics and/or in professions, including those with doctorates or other advanced degrees in the sciences, technologies, engineering and math -the STEM fields.
Many come from area universities such as West Virginia University and Fairmont State University. “We go to those experts in our own communities,” Sullivan said. “We have a wonderful group of instructors this year.”
Students pay $25 per session, or all five for $100. Though the science workshops are billed separately from the art sessions, both are priced the same. Sullivan encourages those interested to get registered promptly, as space is limited to no more than 15 students, so they can get individualized attention. These Saturdays of fun and learning are presented at Songbird Learning Center, 305 Songbird Lane in Fairmont.
For more information about these science or art workshops or to learn about volunteers opportunities or how to donate, call (304) 366-3722, visit, or email


Students engaged in a hands-on science class with instructor Beth Thompson from Learning Options, Inc.
Students engaged in a hands-on science class with instructor Beth Thompson from Learning Options, Inc.