Randomly ask elementary school age students what’s their favorite subject and a startling high percentage will respond “science!” The youngsters can’t seem to get enough of it.
A recent visit by Mad Science to Flower Hill School just might have sparked a lifelong love for learning about all the many facets under the umbrella of the academic discipline. A leading science enrichment provider, Mad Science has been bringing the excitement of learning to Huntington students for many years through assembly programs, classroom labs and workshops.
Huntington SEARCH Chairperson Maryann Daly have been at the forefront of bringing special science presentations into the lives of elementary school children. “Each workshop provides a unique and fun approach to helping children better understand how science connects to the world around us,” said James Lauter, a Flower Hill second grade teacher.
Similar scenes played out across the Huntington School District as Mad Scientist visited Jefferson, Southdown and Washington schools and students there loved every minute of their workshops, too.
Concepts featured in the recent round of workshops at Flower Hill were informative and enlightening. As the “mad scientist” demonstrated how to construct an erupting volcano, students were amazed. “Each chemical did something different,” second grader Sophie Hoffman said.
In this case, the erupting volcano was created with the help of soap, baking soda, food coloring and vinegar. It seems simple and it is, but it sure impressed the Flower Hill youngsters.
Another activity demonstrated the difference between physical and chemical changes. “Tearing a piece of paper in half is a physical change,” Mr. Lauter said. “Setting a match to that same paper produces a chemical change. Conducting the activity again, but with a piece of paper that is chemically treated will accelerate the burning to a point where the treated paper is ignited in a flash.”
The controlled flame made many sets of young eyes light up. “The fire was cool,” Eva Richter said. None of her classmates could be heard disagreeing.
Students used manipulatives to construct a model that shows how atoms bond together to form molecules. The states of matter were also discussed. Students learned to differentiate between a solid, liquid or gas. “I like how she blew up the balloon so that we could see how something can hold air,” Grahm Sulinski said
During still another experiment, students witnessed a nickel change color before their eyes as it was connected to an electric circuit and dipped into a chemical solution. “I watched it turn copper,” a very surprised Patrick Tortora said.
“Of course, the biggest thrill for these second graders came when they created blue ‘slime,’” Mr. Lauter said. The gooey concoction quickly captured the imagination of the youngsters.
“Stirring the slime made it harder and harder,” said Harold Jimenez Nunez after watching the transformation occur. Classmate Mya Mori was also fascinated. “I like the feeling of the slime in my hands,” she said.
“A survey conducted the following day among the students found that parents did not necessarily share that same feeling as Mya, although, each would concur that it was done in the name of science and science matters,” Mr. Lauter joked.