- Public Schools of the Tarrytowns
Science Night Brings Hands-On Fun to K-5 Students
Science! It was back in 1982 that Thomas Doby sang about being blinded by science, but it seems to still be happening for our Kindergarten through fifth graders who couldn’t get enough at the district’s annual Family Science Night. Sponsored by the Horseman PTA, the yearly event presented by SHHS science faculty with the support of Science Honors Society students mesmerized eager science learners with demonstrations teaching aspects of chemistry and physics.
Science Ablaze taught the students how oxygen, heat, and fuel combine to create the fire or combustion triangle. Students were enthralled as Chemistry Teacher Mr. Choi demonstrated how combining the elements can spark a fire or expel sponge as if it were coming from a cannon. Mr Choi also shared that by removing one of the three aforementioned elements, the fire can be eliminated. He joked by saying: "I've taught for 21 years and, while water can also be used, I’ve never had to use the shower in a single experiment!”
Carbon dioxide was the star of Mr. Franco’s Science Isn’t Dry demonstration featuring dry ice. Students learned about sublimation, which is the process of how a solid like dry ice can quickly be turned into vapor like a fog. SHHS sophomore Araron, who aspires to a career in science stated, “This is a great experience. It’s fun seeing the kids' reactions to experiments that they could do at home, supervised of course!.”
Mr. Hanuschack’s Electrolytes presentation explained just how the body uses electrolytes to conduct electrical charges to make muscles function and the brain think. Electrolytes and hydration also help your body have a healthy balance inside and out. “We talked ‘big picture’ about nutrition such as what you put in your body to keep yourself healthy, and that prevention is better than treatment,” said Mr. Hanuschack.
Fifth grader Melody shared, “I learned sweat is good and will conduct electricity, which is good for your brain function. The teacher showed us that salt water can light a lightbulb because it conducts electricity!” Melody added, “We also saw how much yucky sugar there is in a soda, and we learned you should eat whole fruits so you get fiber not just drink the juice!”
Who doesn't love ice cream as a treat!? Mr. Doherty and Mr. Erenberg’s demo on Liquid Nitrogen taught the students about the phases of matter and showed just how cold -328F. “Wow, it will freeze anything it touches!” said one second grader. “The hotdog and flower the teacher froze shattered.”
Students were laser focused as they learned how liquidated nitrogen is used to help make ice cream’s texture creamy and smooth because it makes the fat and water particles really small. To reinforce the point, the young scientists got a scoop of ice cream at the demonstration's end.
Ms Madani’s interactive talk on Space and Time charmed the young Einsteins. The students took turns doing experiments with marbles and bricks standing in for planets on a suspended “Space Time” tarp. Learning how objects gravitate toward each other, the students also came to understand how the universe began with planets in chaos but the eight planets are all traveling in the same direction in orbit now.
Sticky hands-on structure building engaged even the quietest students when they participated in the Engineering Challenge, hosted but the Science Honor Society students. Students were challenged to create a structure using marshmallows and straws using engineering skills and critical thinking. “Some of the students tried to see how tall they could build a structure, but for others all they wanted to do was eat the marshmallows at the end!” said one of the Junior Honor students. “ They were pretty creative, but it was very sticky!”
The Family Science Night was an evening overflowing with bangs, oohs and aahs, sticky fingers, smiling faces departing with little brains full of new knowledge. One WI third grader summed it up this way, saying “It was the best night of the year!”