Science Fun


Posted On: 14 Dec

Princeton Elementary School is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: Princeton Elementary

Princeton Elementary School

GRADE: Kindergarten
PROGRAM: Animal Detectives
Scientist: Amber Oliver

Kindergarten – Animal Detectives

I always have loved teaching at the rural schools in North Carolina. Princeton Elementary is by far the nicest and most friendly school that I have visited this year. As soon as I entered the doors I was greeted by the most friendliest staff, including the school Receptionist “Princess” who was very stylish to say the least. I enjoyed speaking with them about my science background and about how much the children meant to me. I also enjoyed making the science lab (room 318) my temporary home away from home and the custodial staff came in frequently to make sure that I had everything I needed to be successful.

I have never experienced a more enthusiastic group of students, but more impressively an exceptionally interested group of educators. Each teacher was more than happy to help pass things out, participate in the activities, and even willing to touch the animals. I have always believed that there is a difference between a teacher and an educator and Princeton Elementary Kindergarten Educators are simply the best. I hope I get to see them again soon.

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Posted On: 7 Dec

Fox Road Magnet Elementary School is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: Fox Road Magnet Elementary

Fox Road Magnet Elementary School

GRADE: 3rd
PROGRAM: Skin N Bones
Scientist: Maddie O’Beirne

3rd Grade – Skin N Bones

Hello everyone! My name is scientist Maddie. This past Wednesday, I had the privilege of going to Fox Road Elementary. I had never been to this school before, but I was greeted by very friendly office staff who seemed really excited to see me! They showed me exactly how to get to my classroom. The program I taught on Wednesday was Skin N Bones, where the 3rd grade junior scientists get to be physiologists for the day and study the human body. All 4 classes that I had were phenomenal because they had never seen a scientist from Science Fun For Everyone before! I felt the pressure to show them a good time, and they had a really great time. Between spreading “germs” through glow powder, testing our reflexes with reflex hammers, to looking at real organs and bones, the scientists had a lot of fun. I would have to say Fox Road was the first school where every scientist LOVED holding the animal organs and bones. I tend to get a few scientists that are grossed out, but this group of 3rd graders were so brave. Probably a lot more brave than I was at that age. All four groups of 3rd grade scientists asked amazing questions that even stumped me at times, and we all learned that the skin is the largest human organ! We finished our in-school field trip by making a fully labeled skull puppet the scientists got to take home with them. Also, the teachers who came in each class were helpful and participated in all of the experiments. This helps the students stay engaged and interested in the topic we are talking about, which makes our job a lot more fun. Thank you to all the teachers that made our time learning about the different systems of the human body so much fun! I’ll be sure to look forward to seeing those same scientists again in the near future. Thank you for a great experience Fox Road, and I can’t wait to be back again. Lastly, there was a very cute red-eared slider turtle in the front office that I made friends with. I think his name was Tommy, but we only met briefly. I guess I will just have to go back again to see him and our other scientist friends at Fox Road Magnet Elementary!

-Scientist Maddie

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Posted On: 1 Dec

Joyner Elementary School is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: Joyner Elementary School

Joyner Elementary School

GRADE: 2nd Grade
PROGRAM: Weather Wise
Scientist: Max Fry

2nd Grade: Weather Wise

On November 14th I visited the 2nd graders at Joyner Elementary. I was excited to show them the Weather Wise program and was confident that they would enjoy it. I had previously taught Weather Wise multiple times and the students always loved all the different activities the program provided for them. At Joyner, the 2nd grade is housed in the portables, so I quickly made my way through the school and across the blacktop to meet my first class. Even though it was early on a Monday morning, the students were excited right when I walked in the room! Many of them had already participated in Science Fun For Everyone! programs and remembered how enjoyable they were last time. I began the Weather Wise lesson and was pleasantly surprised by how much the students already knew about different aspects of the weather, and I was looking forward to teaching these junior meteorologists even more! We made lightning with the plasma ball (always a fan favorite) and each student successfully made their own weather station. The plaster for the weather stations is sometimes tricky so I was happy everything was going smoothly. Next, we made models of hailstorms and then the students were able to participate in multiple stations that included “tornado tubes”, rain gauges, suction cups, and wind bags. Everyone was having fun and also learning a lot about varied weather topics! Time for the lesson was running out but we had just enough for the grand finale… Fog Rings! Using a fog machine and a modified trash can, I was able to shoot rings of fog across the classroom, to the delight of the students. But just as I was loading up the trash can to make a few final rings, the fire alarm went off! We quickly exited the portable and lined up on the black top. I had used the fog machine many times without ever setting off alarms, so I wondered if it was just a crazy coincidence that the alarm had gone off when I started making fog. This question was answered when I realized the alarm was only coming from the portables I was in and when the firemen showed up! It was not a drill and no crazy coincidence! Apparently, the portable had a very sensitive smoke detector that fog would even set off. Thankfully neither the firemen or the teachers were too upset by the alarm going off and I was just nicely asked to not use the fog machine anymore. The rest of the classes were completed with no problems, but unfortunately the students had to miss out on the fog machine. I have since taught Weather Wise at other schools and used the fog machine without any alarms, but now I will always be wary after that one Monday at Joyner when the fog caused an impromptu fire drill!

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Posted On: 16 Nov

Hodge Road Elementary School is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: Hodge Road Elementary School

Hodge Road Elementary School

GRADE: 4th Grade
PROGRAM: Can You Dig It?
Scientist: Karla Johnson

4th Grade: Can You Dig It?

Yesterday, I went cave mining with the fourth grade classes of Hodge Road Elementary! I was absolutely thrilled to see their faces light up as I walked into the room. These faces were just as excited as I was because we were about to become geologists for a day. We started by imagining we had a warm melty chocolate chip cookie; when it got closer to lunchtime I could tell this analogy was really getting some scientist hungry! I explained how the chocolate chips would be a lot like the minerals in a rock, and the cookie would be the rock. I saw all the scientists’ brains turning and I even had a few scientists make another analogy that involved food! (I was super excited because I love food!) After we learned about the difference between a rock and a mineral we started talking about the three different types of rocks and how they are formed; the scientist already knew so much about the topic that we moved deep into the layers of the Earth! We all thought it was amazing how hot each layer is, and I got some really good questions about the different plates that make up the Earth’s crust. I was so happy to see scientist with such an interest in our Earth!

Finally, we did our own excavation and we could all barely contain our excitement as we assembled our head lamps and gathered all of our geologist tools. As we turned out the lights and began our excavation, I heard shrill screams of excitement and scientist exclaiming “ I found gold!” We found so many good minerals that one scientist even told me this was the best field trip ever! I’d say it was a pretty good one for not even leaving the classroom! Then we even got to figure out which rocks the scientist got by testing them out with tests that geologist in the field use! I had so much fun that I can’t wait to visit the scientists of Hodge Road Elementary again!

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Posted On: 9 Nov

Mary Scroggs Elementary School is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: Mary Scroggs Elementary School

GRADE: Kindergarten
PROGRAM: Motion Mania
Scientist: Jennifer Sickles

Kindergarten: Motion Mania

As I pulled up to Mary Scroggs Elementary School, I knew that the students were going to be excited about their science field trip. The kindergarten classes completed “Motion Mania” and learned all about movement. Not only were the scientists learning about the movement of objects, but they also learned about the movement of animals too! As physicists’, we studied the movement of a balloon rocket and learned all about centripetal force and gravity. We learned that gravity is the force that keeps things on Earth. The scientists were amazed as I was able to keep a cup of water on a board while spinning that board completely over my head! Then we moved on and became zoologists. The zoologists studied the movement of super worms in their natural habitat. As we all know, the classroom is not the natural habitat for a super worm, so the zoologists had to make a habitat using soil, sand, and rocks. We also made an obstacle course for our super worms out of blocks and used feathers to move around the course. The scientists were amazed at how fast those super worms climbed over and crawled under all of the blocks.

The scientists were incredibly excited about the experiments that we did. The kids were asking and answering tons of questions. I really enjoyed doing experiments with the scientists at Mary Scroggs Elementary. I always love seeing young kids so excited about science!

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Posted On: 1 Nov

Bolton Elementary School is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: Bolton Elementary School

GRADE: 4th
PROGRAM: Moon in Motion
Scientist: Heather Fisher

4th Grade: Moon in Motion

3, 2, 1, BLASTOFF!!

Last Friday I got to take a trip to space with the 4th graders at Bolton Elementary, all without leaving the classroom! We started with a glimpse at what would happen if we were out in space without a pressurized space suit. Spoiler alert, it didn’t look like it would end well for Bob, our balloon astronaut! “If you’re curious what would really happen, check out this article!

We had a blast experimenting with how different planetary bodies are moving around in space! After looking at the phases of the moon and building a mobile model of the earth, sun, and moon, we got to the REALLY fun stuff! Each student built a mini straw rocket that we tried to blast to the Moon, Earth and Jupiter! We had to really work on our aim and change the force to move the rocket exactly the distance we needed. Each student also practiced using centripetal force to keep a bouncy ball in orbit. We had a few “planets” collide with each other, others were accidentally launched into deep space, and a few unfortunate, hopefully uninhabited, planets that were lost forever.

My favorite part of each program, however, was watching each student’s reaction when I filled my cup with water and used centripetal force to make that orbit my finger without spilling! No one believed it would work, but thankfully all of us and the floor remained dry! I hope by now everyone has tested it on their own (outside of course) and figured out the perfect acceleration and deceleration to make it work without getting wet!

The fourth graders at Bolton turned out to be great Astronomers! I can’t wait to see if they are equally good Geologists when we visit again later this year!

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Posted On: 25 Oct

Grace Christian Elementary School is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: Grace Christian Elementary School

GRADE: 3rd
PROGRAM: A Matter of Science
Scientist: Davis Tate

3rd Grade: A Matter of Science

Last week, I had the pleasure of teaching one of my favorite programs at Grace Christian Elementary School. I was teaching A Matter of Science, which does an incredible job of explaining the three most common phases of matter.

First off, I love Grace Christian, because they have an ACTUAL Science Lab, complete with eye washing station, fume hood, and even an emergency shower! Now, I don’t need any of these safety features, but it feels like it really adds to the experience in a way that a normal class sometimes just can’t quite match! I know walking into a lab setting primes me for a scientific experience, and I have to imagine it does the same for the students!

In the program, we discuss how different phases of matter can change when we add heat, ice can become water, water can become vapor. We also discuss how we can reverse this process by removing heat. We usually demonstrate this concept by freezing some cream and milk to make ice cream! Today was no different, of course, and we had a lot of fun mixing up multiple batches to not only get a hands-on science experience, but a TONGUE-on experience! (Weird way to put that, but y’know, it’s true!)

But in my last class, we lucked into a way to demonstrate one of the harder concepts in the program! During my lunch break, I spent time in the lab preparing for my last session. I was pouring Sodium Hydroxide into cups, and organizing supplies for our disappearing ink experiment, when one of the 3rd grade teachers came in to say hello. After talking for a few minutes, she offered me some water, which I happily accepted. She said she usually has bottles of water, but they were all out, so instead, she brought me a tall glass of ice water.
This was wonderful (Grace Christian has delicious water) and it came in handy during my explanation of phase changes. I always have trouble explaining how a gas can become a liquid. It can be difficult to comprehend how water vapor, which is invisible, can become water, which is visible. But lo! I had right next to me a perfect example of a gas to liquid phase change!

I had not finished my water before the class arrived, and the glass of water was still half full (I’m an optimist). As I described gasses becoming liquid, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that my glass of water had collected a perfect layer of condensation on the outside of my glass! I was able to hold up my glass, and explain to the class that the drops of water on the outside of my glass hadn’t leaked out of the glass, but had condensed in the air!

It’s moments like these that I love in teaching. When something that is happening right in front of us can be connected directly to the ideas of the day! It’s an experience I will remember for years to come!

Thanks Grace Christian!!!!

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Posted On: 16 Oct

Vandora Springs Elementary is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: Vandora Springs Elementary School

GRADE: 3rd
PROGRAM: Skin n Bones
Scientist: Craig

3rd Grade Skin n Bones

The end of the week was in sight and I was on my way to Vandora Springs in Garner. I was extremely lucky to be able to finish off the week here. What an exciting group of students to walk in the building to! By the way, your new building and school looks awesome.

I was greeted in office by your friendly staff and they quickly directed me to the room I would be teaching in the rest of the day. I’m always so appreciative when the schools put us up in one room, it makes for a much easier transition between classes. Today’s sessions would be all about the human body and more specifically about the skeletal and nervous system.

To my surprise, the first class walked in with all sorts of skeleton costumes and doctor outfits. I knew they were ready for a great time! We generally start the program discussing the largest organ in the human body that does a lot of protecting and every single one of my classes had several hands shoot up with the correct answer, skin. Way to go teachers! The students were really excited to spread some fake germs to their classmates and then inspect where they have gone and how they have spread. It’s a good thing they all admitted to excellent hygiene and hand washing when it comes to the real germs!

We then move onto discussing the nervous system and it’s part in protecting the body from harm and how we use reflexes to respond to a stimulus. The students get a huge kick out of the reflex sticks and watching the fastest of the students miss grabbing the stick as I try and distract them.

My favorite part of the program by far is when they get to observe the animal bones, joints, and organs. When I first start explaining, I hear a lot of, “gross” and “eew”, but we quickly change their mindset into “cool” and “awesome”. It’s always so fascinating watching their eyes light up with amazement in having that opportunity to handle these things. They most popular one has to be the moving knee joint from the cow.

Thank you Vandora Springs 3rd grade for an amazing Friday! You guys were excellent and the costumes were great. I can’t wait to see you guys again soon!

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Posted On: 12 Oct

West End Elementary is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: West End Elementary

GRADE: 4th
PROGRAM: Electrifying Adventures
Scientist: Christine

4th Grade Electrifying Adventures

I followed the moon to West End. Who wrote that lyric? Me, Scientist Christine. And actually, it’s not a lyric at all. It’s what I did. Huh? Occasionally, I travel to schools that are not only far away, but the first program is early. How early? So early, the full moon was shining brightly for the entire journey south. Luckily, for me, I love driving early in the morning. Reminds me of when I was kid, and we would have to wake up early to start our sixteen hour car ride to New York to visit family. Sometimes driving that early, can make you sleepy. The road is dark, there is little traffic, and it is very quiet out. I decided to play a game using the moon. I knew, being a scientist, that when the moon is full it is directly across from the sun. And if the sun rises in the east, then the moon is directly to the west. Using this knowledge, I constantly was keeping track of what direction I was going…southwest, west, south east. It was a fun way to keep my mind occupied, and when I pulled into West End’s parking lot, guess what? I was facing west. Guess that’s where the name comes from.

Space…weather…lightning…electricity! Electricity was our topic of the day with West End’s fourth graders. We created current electricity, opened and closed circuits, and made some static electricity of our own. Do you make static electricity using a balloon and your hair? No way, we have something way cooler…A Van de Graaff! What is that? It’s a tool for making static electricity. It involves a big rubber band rubbing against a piece of copper and creating friction. Once enough friction happens, electrons are lost, and the Van de Graaff sphere becomes negatively charged. Now it has extra stored energy that it wants to get rid of, and it wants to balance back out. Once it can gain some electrons back, it discharges its stored electricity and becomes balanced once again. I showed how a Van de Graaff can repel other negatively charged items, how it can create small lightning bolts, and my favorite, how it can make someone’s hair stand on end. I usually have time for a few volunteers to try. The brave electrical engineers did an amazing job. At the end of the volunteers, I always ask the classroom teacher if she would like to try. All the teachers at West End said, “Yes!” It was electrifying! They did a great job, and the students were “shocked” to see their teachers rock a new hairdo.

Looking forward to the next time I can follow the moon to West End! This “hair raising” school is worth another trip!

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Posted On: 3 Oct

Ed V Baldwin Elementary is our Spotlight School of the Week

SCHOOL: Ed V Baldwin Elementary

GRADE: 3rd
PROGRAM: Our Place in Space
Scientist: Cameron

Hello there!

I started this week off with a trip down south! Yes, south of Raleigh. Yep! Even south of Fayetteville. I traveled all the way down to Hope Mills, NC, where Ed V Baldwin Elementary School stands. As I surveyed the Google Maps satellite view of the school in search of good parking, a realization hit me–I’d been there before! All at once, I recalled the rainy morning that I had taught weather to the second graders there the previous year. This time around, I knew that I was going to the third grade, so I wondered if I might have some of the same students…

Sure enough, as I made my way toward my classroom (coincidentally in a section of the school referred to as “South Carolina” for its remoteness), I passed a number of students whose eyes lit up and who whispered, “I remember you from last year!” Some of them even started telling me their favorite experiments from last time! I was thrilled that they were ready to do more science, especially because today we were covering one of my favorite areas of science: astronomy! I had brought with me “Our Place in Space,” a program that teaches about the movement of our planet and the contents of our solar system, our galaxy, and far beyond. We talked about constellations and made glow-in-the-dark maps of our favorite kinds; we discussed how the movement of the cosmos is actually very useful for us, such as with developing calendars and keeping time, and we made sundials to do this out at home; and we imaged how astronauts ride rockets into outer space as we launched some water rockets of our own!

Now, when we (the Scientists) teach these programs, we always have some objectives to complete, such as keeping the experiments on track and covering all the information in the teaching standards. But every once in awhile, a class is so curious and asks such great questions that we get to break from the norm, and we can tell them about some really awesome things. That happened a lot today! Does your scientist remember why we don’t feel the earth moving, even though it’s rotating at over 1000 mph (hint: it’s like driving on the highway)? Or did you know that when you’re looking at the sun, you’re really looking 8 minutes into the past (hint: nothing’s faster than the speed of light!)? The universe is AMAZING, and we got a taste of that today.

All in all, it was a great start to the week, and I was happy to have spent it at Ed V Baldwin with third grade. I hope to see you again this year, or perhaps next year for fourth grade!

– Scientist Cameron

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