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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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Posted On: 25 May

Southwest Elementary is our Spotlight School of the week

SCHOOL: SouthwestElementary

Spotlight-School-southwest

GRADE: 5th
PROGRAM: Newton’s Lab and Storm Chasers
Scientist: Christine

I have been having the best week ever! “Why?” you ask. Because I not only get to go to Southwest Elementary once this week, but twice. With the same grade, in fact. Which means I’ll get to see the same students too! Terrific. Which grade? 5th grade. Actually, a lot of my coworkers will be at Southwest this week. Why? Because 5th grade is participating in a program every day this week. Wow! Now that’s what I call some fun preparation for the EOG’s next week. Monday, the day I taught, we did Newton’s Lab, Tuesday is Eco Explorers, Wednesday will be Energy Matters, Thursday, I’ll be back with Storm Chasers, and their rounding out the week with Body Works on Friday. These will be some of the smartest 5th grade scientists you’ll ever meet.

Let me tell you a highlight about my day on Monday, teaching Newton’s Lab. The junior scientists became physicists and focused on force and motion. Oh, and of course, Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. Every class was amazed how I was able to create a force stronger than gravity, and prevented water from spilling all over the floor. How did I do it? I used a spinning platform and created speed and velocity, which then created a strong centripetal force, or “center seeking” force. This force became greater than gravity’s force and prevented the water from spilling. This goes along with Newton’s 2nd Law.

I had such a good time on Monday, I can’t wait to go back on Thursday, when the junior scientists will turn from physicists to meteorologists. As a sneak preview, we will be making lightning, clouds, and barometers. Hopefully, I will be able to amaze them as much as I did on Monday. See you soon!

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Posted On: 23 May

Carthage Elementary is our Spotlight School of the week

SCHOOL: Carthage Elementary

Spotlight-School-carthage

GRADE: 5th
PROGRAM: Storm Chasers
Scientist: Cameron

As a scientist at Science Fun For Everyone, I get to drive to schools all around the state. While I’m familiar with many of the cities and towns around Cary, where our lab is, I often travel to places that I’ve never heard of before. One such place is the town of Carthage, in Moore County. I’ve been there three times now, teaching 5th grade at Carthage Elementary twice. On my most recent trip to that school, I taught Storm Chasers, a program where students learn about weather. We discussed how electrically charged particles in the atmosphere create lightning, and we demonstrated this process by using a Tesla Coil to create real (safe!) lightning in the classroom! We then discovered how clouds like to form under low pressure by creating a cloud in a bottle. After that, we talked about several different instruments that meteorologists use to study the weather, such as anemometers and barometers, and the students were able to experiment with them together.

I love this program for many reasons. The experiments we do are thrilling and very interactive, and weather itself is incredibly fascinating. In addition to this, our take-home experiment, offers the opportunity for me to play a science-based prank on my students. I tell them, “Alright my scientists, our last experiment for the day actually deals with telekinesis. Who can tell me what telekinesis is?” They’ll respond with various definitions that all get to the point: it’s the ability to move things with one’s mind. I say, “So, since the last time that I saw, I’ve been practicing my telekinesis. I’ve practiced so much that I’m actually able to move the floating diver inside this water bottle down to the very bottom of the bottle.” Since fifth graders are pretty clever, a few of them begin to see through my guise immediately, but before they get the chance to question my supernatural abilities, I hold the bottle carefully and say, “All I have to do is focus very carefully and… it begins to move.” Sounds of awe and surprise resonate throughout the room. “Did I really move it? Yep! And if I relax my focus… it just rises right back up to the top.” More sounds of shock and disbelieve. “Don’t believe me? Nope, there’s nothing in my hand. Look, I can do it with my other hand too…”

At this point, regardless of who has figured out my trick, I’ll then explain that by squeezing the bottle I increase its internal pressure, thus compressing the air within the diver and allowing more water to enter the diver and sink it. (This relates well to our discussions of clouds and barometers.) Getting to this point of the program was especially fun at Carthage Elementary. The jokes, surprises, and mind-blowing concepts were all made more impactful because I had been with the kids before, and I received countless excellent questions about the material we covered. Keep it up, Carthage, and I’ll see you soon! And the best of luck to all of your 5th graders preparing to enter middle school.

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Posted On: 19 Apr

Clement Elementary is our Spotlight School of the week

SCHOOL: Clement Elementary

Spotlight-School-clement

GRADE: 5th
PROGRAM: Storm Chasers
Scientist: Heather

I experienced some intense winds, extreme pressure changes, and shocking lightning at Clement Elementary on Wednesday as I explored weather with the 5th graders in our “Storm Chasers” program!

The students had just finished studying weather, and I could tell they knew all about it from the questions they asked and the answers they gave me! It’s always fun to visit classes at the end of the unit and really see them apply what they’ve learned to the experiments and connect everything together!

Storm Chasers is one of my favorite programs, because it starts with a “shocking” lightning experiment! After seeing some bigger bolts of lightening, we used a slightly larger than normal bulb to actually experience some weak lightening! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed striking their classmates with mini lightening bolts!

I also amazed a rapt audience when I showed them I was not only the coolest scientist, but also a magician!!!! Just kidding, I am just a scientist with some tricks up my sleeve! We all practiced using telekinesis (aka pressure!) to move a diver through a bottle of water! I definitely tricked a few students, and I hope a few of them were able to trick family and friends when they got home!

From lightening to clouds to tornados, and lots more in between, I had a great day at Clement! I hope to visit again soon!

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Posted On: 14 Apr

District 7 Elementary is our Spotlight School of the week

SCHOOL: District 7 Elementary

Spotlight School-district-7

GRADE: 2nd and 3rd
PROGRAM:
Lava Lakes and Landforms and Circle of Life
Scientist: Davis

This week I had the joy of returning to a school I’ve been visiting since way back when I started working at Science Fun: District 7!

District 7 is a school in Wade, NC which is about an hour and a half away from my house in Durham. When I tell friends about the long trips, I get some sour faces, and sympathy. “Man, I can’t believe you have to go so far! That must be terrible!” they say.

But honestly, an hour and half is well worth it to hang out with the kids at District 7. When I pull up, I may be tired, but the enthusiasm and energy that the kids have immediately wakes me up!

On this particular day I taught two different grade levels. My first two classes were learning about land forms and erosion. We have the students study erosion by actually poring water down a small model of North Carolina that we have made for them. As they pipette water over the map, they can actually see how the water collects in the low places. We add sand to the map to represent the sediment that is pushed around as the water moves down toward the ocean. The kids had so much fun playing with water in class, and were genuinely loving the experience of reinforcing knowledge that their teachers has already planted so expertly.

In the second half of the day, I worked with the second grade students, talking about life cycles. My favorite part of this program is when we actually bring out some real life bugs and see the different stages of their life cycles. We set this up by talking about the life cycle of a butterfly. After establishing the different stages of the butterfly’s life (and laughing at the word Pupa) we explain that many insects go through the same basic cycle.

Then we bring out the superworms.

Superworms are the larva of the darkling beetle. They are a common feeder food for lizards like bearded dragons, but are also really nifty little bugs. They are expert burrowers, and more that hardy enough to stand up to the special kind of love that second graders can have for such little critters. It is such a blast sitting with students who are a little scared to hold these six legged wigglers for the first time; and watch as they become more and more comfortable with them as the program continues. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve planted the seeds for some budding Entomologists!

Thank you District 7 for the awesome day! I can’t wait to come back!

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Posted On: 3 Apr

Stocks Elementary is our Spotlight School of the week

SCHOOL: Stocks Elementary

Spotlight-School-stocks

GRADE: 2nd
PROGRAM: Sound Surprise
Scientist: Craig

What an awesome day to go to Stocks Elementary! I was joined by several other scientists from Science Fun as well as other local scientists. Stocks was having a STEAM day where all the students spent the day doing hands on science activities. I wish I had one of these days when I was younger.

My sessions were with the second grade classes. We had an awesome time learning all about sound. The students had a little bit of background knowledge from their awesome teachers. They were really excited to share their knowledge with me. They told me all about sound travelling in waves, volume and even pitch.

Since they were so knowledgeable, it was time to get into experimenting. The students got the chance to use some tuning forks and create vibrations, which of course create sound. They had a blast using the tuning forks to vibrate different objects around them as well as their cheeks, noses, and ears. They got a kick out of me sneaking up and using the tuning fork on them. We also used a ping pong ball to demonstrate how sound waves travel through all states of matter. I didn’t even get a chance to explain before a student made the connection that the ping pong ball represented the molecules within matter and one vibrates the next and so on and so forth.

After we had a solid understanding of sound, we moved to figuring out how our ear works. One of the highlights is having them close their eyes and following my voice. Even though it’s such a simple activity, the students are amazed how the pinna on their ears helps their brain understand where the sound is coming from.

Finally it was time to make some sound slime. We were able to use chemicals to create a slime that would vibrate when air pockets got stuck in it. The kids quickly reminded me that vibrations create sound. We can all use our imaginations to determine what it sounded like. The kids has an awesome time with it. It was very rewarding hearing the students tell me it was their favorite session of the day and ask when I was coming back. Hopefully it’ll soon my friends! See you next time Stocks.

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Posted On: 28 Mar

Lynn Road Elementary is our Spotlight School of the week

SCHOOL: Lynn Road

lynn-Spotlight-School

GRADE: 5th
PROGRAM: Storm Chasers
Scientist: Christine

I love my job! Who wouldn’t? Teaching kids science! What’s not to love? I didn’t think I could love my job more until, I visited Lynn Road Elementary on Monday. Why? It was a first time school for Science Fun for Everyone! I love going to first time schools. The junior scientists, not to mention the teachers, have no idea what to expect, and when they get to see that volcano explode, that hair stand up on end, or that water rocket launch for the first time, it is pure magic. This time, for this program, “Storm Chasers”, it was touching the plasma ball using a tesla coil. They literally were electrified. What? Yes, they touched electricity that discharged from the bulb to their fingers. What did it look like? Like purple streaks of mini lightning. One lucky student from each class, even got to create a closed circuit with me. How? The student touched the plasma ball with one hand and the skinny light bulb with the other; while I held onto the tesla coil and held the skinny light bulb as well. The circuit allowed the electricity to flow as a current, then allowing the skinny light bulb to turn on. How en”light”ening!

I received so many “thank you”s from this appreciative and polite group of 5th graders. Additionally, from the supportive and engaged teachers. What a great time we all had learning about Meteorology.

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Posted On: 20 Mar

Thales Academy is our Spotlight School of the week

SCHOOL: Thales Academy

spotlight-school-thales

GRADE: 3rd
PROGRAM: A Matter of Science
Scientist: Cameron

My adventures with Science Fun For Everyone take me all over the state, and I get to teach many different programs to kindergarten students and 5th graders alike. Out of all the teaching I’ve done, my favorite program has to be “A Matter of Science,” where 3rd graders get to do experiments involving the states of matter and different types of reactions. We combine solids and liquids to make a gas in a heat-producing, exothermic reaction; we mix acids and bases in a color-changing reaction; and lastly–perhaps most importantly–we freeze some liquids into a solid treat: ice cream!

Although I’ve done this program many times, the kids always make it different and enjoyable. One classroom might be most excited for the ice cream, while the next might love the color-changing experiments. This week at Thales Academy in Raleigh, however, it was special for another reason. Throughout the program, I ask for lots of volunteers to help me out. There are many schools where the kids who don’t get called up are so disappointed that they let out a chorus of “Awwwww.” Things were different at Thales Academy, though.

Even though a handful of students weren’t picked, the volunteers were consistently applauded by their classmates. Some students, instead of raising their own hands, pointed to their friends that they might be chosen. It was so awesome to see them be that exciting for their classmates! As much as I can, I try to teach my students skills that will be useful when they grow up, both in reference to science and other. I try to make a point about the fact that grown-ups, especially scientists, collaborate to do most of their work, and it’s important for kids to learn this as early as they can.

So keep it up, Thales Academy! I’m proud that you were so encouraging to one another and interested in learning new things together. You were all awesome scientists with me, and I know that each of you can grow up to be an awesome grown-up scientist if you choose to do so.

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Posted On: 13 Mar

Durant Road Elementary is our Spotlight School of the week

SCHOOL: Durant Road Elementary

durant-Spotlight-School

GRADE: 2nd
PROGRAM: Weather Wise
Scientist: Aaron

This week, I had the pleasure of going to Durant Road Elementary School to talk to the second graders there about weather! We all became junior meteorologists and worked through a program called Weather Wise and had a blast doing so.

As soon as I walked into my first class at Durant Road, I could sense the excitement amongst the students, and as I began to teach, it was evident that they had gone through their weather unit thoroughly! All the questions I asked were answered without a problem; questions dealing with thunderstorms, clouds, and even tools to measure weather. These junior scientists did so well!
After we discussed weather measuring and why we want to measure weather, we had the opportunity to make our very own weather station! This weather station was able to be taken home so that the junior scientists could measure different aspects of weather at home!

Throughout the entire program, I was excited to see the amazement that the children showed towards the various weather activities I had brought for them to experiment with. They loved every bit of it and I cannot wait to go back to teach the second grade at Durant Road!

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Posted On: 14 Feb

North Forest Pines Elementary is our Spotlight School of the week

SCHOOL: North Forest Pines Elementary

Spotlight-School-n-forest-pines

GRADE: 3rd
PROGRAM: Skin-N-Bones
Scientist: Heather

This Thursday, I got to join some of the third graders at North Forest Pines Elementary school for a program that at least one student described as “kinda gross…but also really cool!”, Skin-n-Bones!

In any of our programs, the best part for the students is actually getting involved in some REAL science experiments, to see how things work up close. I can’t think of many programs where this is more the case than in Skin-n-Bones, where we don’t just talk about our body systems and organs and how they work, we actually see them UP CLOSE! Each student (and even some of the teachers!) got to put on gloves then pick up and examine REAL bones and organs from sheep, pigs, cows, coyotes, water buffalo and even a shark! My favorite part is always the students’ reaction to seeing the cow’s heart! Everyone was a little disappointed I didn’t have a blue whale heart to show as well. While saying it’s the size of a small car might be a little bit of an exaggeration, at about 5 feet long, 4 feet wide, 5 feet tall, and 400 pounds it certainly would have been a challenge to move around! That makes it more that 600 times the size of most human hearts! Crazy!

We also had fun exploring how our body is constantly protecting itself: our skin blocking germs from invading our nervous system, and also helping us figure out what is going on around us so we can react quickly! Then, of course, there is our skull, protecting our brain to keep everything running smoothly! I hope the human skull “puppets” we made didn’t chatter anyone’s ear off too much about how much fun we had today!

It had been quite a while since the last time I taught at North Forest Pines, but I sure had a lot of fun and was glad to be there today! Hopefully we’ll be back again soon!

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