When not spending time in or near the ocean this summer, hundreds of Chester County students in grades two through six will head to their local libraries to learn the science of the murky depths for free, through GlaxoSmithKline's Science in the Summer program.

This will be the 22d summer that the British-based pharmaceutical giant will fund free science classes in the Philadelphia area, with 140 libraries - 17 in Chester County - hosting sessions. Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Delaware, and Chester Counties rotate topics each summer; this year it's Chester's turn to focus on oceanography while students in the other counties learn about bioscience, chemistry, genetics, and simple machines.

"The action is non-stop, it's activity after activity," explained Anthony DiSipio, 59, in his 32d year of teaching physical science at Octorara Middle School. DiSipio, one of six science teachers who will travel the county for the program, has taught for Science in the Summer since 1995.

The program, which consists of four one-hour classes for groups of 15 students, varies in dates offered by library. The sessions start in some libraries on June 23, while the last week of classes starts on July 28.

Although registration dates have passed for many libraries in the county, there are still openings at many. Tredyffrin Library will not host the program this summer due to renovations.

Students are split into two levels according to age, but both sections focus on a science teacher's favorite tool - experiments.

"You get to do science, you don't have to read about it," said DiSipio, who plans on running experiments that will show how tides work, and the effects of water pressure and temperature differences, while bringing in microscopes so the children can check out brine shrimp (aquatic crustaceans, also known as sea monkeys).

GlaxoSmithKline spends about $400,000 per year on the program, which covers teacher salaries, library fees and educational materials. The result is a science class that cuts out the least popular parts of school - dry lectures, homework, and tests.

"Science is about being curious, and there is nobody more curious than little kids," said DiSipio. "To hook them at this age, there's nothing better than that."

Summer Science

Although the registration period for the first group of libraries has passed, check with you local branch. Some places may still be available.

Atglen Reading Center

413 Valley Ave., Atglen

Course Dates: June 23-26 (p.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-593-6848

Avon Grove Free Library

117 Rose Hill Ave., West Grove

Course Dates: July 28 - 31

Library Phone number: 610-869-2004

Bayard Taylor Memorial Library

216 E. State St., Kennett Square

Course Dates: July 28-31

Library Phone number: 610-444-2702

Chester County Library

450 Exton Square Parkway, Exton

Course Dates: July 7-10 (a.m. and p.m.)

and July 14-17 (a.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-280-2630

Chester Springs Library

1685-A Art School Rd., Chester Springs

Course Dates: July 7-10 (a.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-827-9212

Coatesville Area Public Library

501 E. Lincoln Highway, Coatesville

Course Dates: June 23-26 (p.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-384-4115

Downingtown Library

330 E. Lancaster Ave., Downingtown

Course Dates: June 23-26 (a.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-269-2741

Henrietta Hankin Branch

215 Windgate Dr., Chester Springs

Course Dates: July 7-10

Library Phone number: 610-321-1724

Honey Brook Community Library

687 Compass Rd.

P.O. Box 1082, Honey Brook

Course Dates: July 21-24 (a.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-273-3303

Paoli Library

18 Darby Rd., Paoli

Course Dates: July 7-10 (p.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-296-7996

Parkesburg Free Library

105 West St., Parkesburg

Course Dates: June 23-26 (a.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-857-5165

Phoenixville Public Library

183 Second St., Phoenixville

Course Dates: July 14-17

Library Phone number: 610-933-3013

Spring City Free Library

245 Broad St., Spring City

Course Dates: July 21-24 (p.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-948-4130

West Chester Public Library

415 N. Church St., West Chester

Course Dates: June 23-26 (a.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-696-7985

Late registration at these libraries

Easttown Library & Information Center

720 First Ave., Berwyn

Registration begins July 14.

Students selected on a "first come, first served" basis.

Call library for information.

Course Dates: July 28-31

Library Phone number: 610-644-3764

Malvern Public Library

1 E. First Ave., Suite 2, Malvern

Registration begins July 7.

Students selected on a "first come, first served" basis.

Call library for information.

Course Dates: July 21-24

Library Phone number: 610-644-7259

Oxford Public Library

48 S. Second St., Oxford

Registration begins July 14.

Students selected on a "first come, first served" basis.

Call library for information.

Course Dates: July 28-31 (a.m. only)

Library Phone number: 610-932-9625

For more information on Science in the Summer, visit scienceinthesummer.com.