Big day for a big number

Students in the rigorous DELTA program at Costa Mesa High School lined up Wednesday morning for science-themed treats in celebration of Mole Day.

A mole, sometimes abbreviated as mol, is a unit used to measure the number of atoms or molecules in a sample. Mole Day is celebrated annually from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m. Oct. 23, paying homage to the amount a mol equals: 6.02 X 1023.

Students snacked on "doughnut mols" and "le-mol-aide" while they attempted to answer a mole-related trivia question.

Science Department Chairwoman Lee Kelly said she decided to organize a Mole Day activity to encourage students to get excited about science and reinforce information they're learning in the classroom.

"We want to get the kids pumped on these nerdy days," said Lee, who also teaches biology.

The DELTA program at Mesa is made up of about 300 high-achieving math and science students in grades 7 through 10.

Students in the program face more rigorous curriculum to prepare them for advanced-placement classes in later grades, said Principal Phil D'Agostino.

He said he encourages teachers to make days like this a part of their classroom lessons.

"Learning is engaging and it should be fun," D'Agostino said. "This goes beyond reading a book and answering questions."

Adrian Delgado, 13, said celebrating things like Mole Day and going on field trips are among his favorite parts of the program.

"The classes are harder, but you get to do a lot of fun things too," he said. "I think it's pretty awesome."

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