Science Saturday inspires passion

By Katie Maze

The Science Education Resource Center hosted its third annual Science Saturday Oct. 29 in the York Science Building.

Attendees performed hands-on experiments and activities with student volunteers and professors from biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and psychology.

Around the first and second floors of York, rooms were filled with students, teachers, parents and children exploring exhibits from each scientific discipline.

Children participated in various activities and conducted small experiments designed to teach them different aspects of science.

Activities included a psychology presentation, liquid nitrogen ice cream, solar-powered robots, magnetic bumper cars and live animals the kids could play with and learn about.

Volunteer and junior clinical laboratory science major Sabrina Hardcastle registered participants for the event.

She was eager to see the childrens’ faces as they explored new things.

“This is my first year doing this, but it’s the most exciting thing to just see how a simple pencil that changes colors can fascinate them,”  Hardcastle said. “It’s so fun. I’ll definitely be back.”

While parents registered their children, kids got the chance to test the theories of gravity and buoyancy by making tinfoil boats and seeing how many pennies it would take to sink them.

Toward the end of the afternoon, chemistry professor and director of  the Science Education Resource Center Dr. Darrell Watson performed interactive chemistry experiments in Brindley Auditorium, several of which included watching explosions and learning about  the effects of dry ice on every-day things like bananas and balloons.

“I want kids to be excited about science and to know that it is fun. … We turn science into a game for a day, and we hope  that will carry on to high school and college,” He said.

Watson got the idea for Science Saturday when he saw his son lose interest in science as he grew older.

Watson was motivated to initiate the program on campus when a reporter contacted him about a former student from another university who was selected out of the entire nation to study in the Galapagos Islands. The student gave credit to Watson for passing on a passion for science.

“You can’t get that kind of thing in a paycheck,” he said.

Watson said that Science Saturday means just as much for the volunteers as it does for the participants. He hopes that such events will motivate children as well as students to get excited about science, so  they will hopefully go on to pursue a career in a scientific field, particularly teaching.

“I would love for them to see how exciting and rewarding it is to share their love of science with others. I’m secretly hoping that some of them will develop a passion for teaching,” he said.

Watson stressed the important role that volunteers play in the event and said they were the real story and fun behind the event.

“The students pretty much run the show,” he said. “They give up their Saturday when they could be doing other things. They have to help us get ready and clean up, move chairs and register kids, and then we have to put everything back. I just can’t give these kids enough credit.”

 

Author: The Bells Staff

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