More than 70 students, siblings and parents recently attended the second annual Family Science Night at Perkins Elementary School in Newark.
The 90-minute event featured hands-on stations such as slime making, scent detection and measuring pH, code and encryption, static electricity, hovercrafts, magnets, geology and volcanoes, microscopes, insects and anatomy and the human body.
Perkins School PTA sponsored the event after obtaining a $1,000 Title 1 grant, allowing it to build on what it started at the 2016 event by offering a human torso replica with detachable organs, mouth and eye replicas with detachable parts, a light screen for geology, rock formations, magnifying glasses, microscopes and slides, cell replicas, supplies for elephant toothpaste with large beakers and solar system replicas.
The remaining costs associated with the event’s supplies were paid for by Perkins School PTA, including 56 new science-related books given to children during a raffle.
Newark High School physics and astronomy teacher Aaron Harrington demonstrated static electricity properties by using a Van De Graaff generator that can make students’ hair stand straight up.
NHS biomedical sciences 10th-graders Noah Arnold, Kailyn Crawford, Joshua Orlopp and Phillip Ross joined NHS biomedical sciences teacher Shawn Flanagan in showcasing some of their work. Arnold used pig lungs to show students how they take in and blow out air. Orlopp and Ross used Vernier lab equipment to test students’ heart rates and lung volumes. Crawford helped students learn how to use a micropipette, a tool used during DNA extraction and analysis.
The idea to have a Family Science Night came from Perkins PTA President Julia Anello, whose daughter, Lilly, attends kindergarten and son, Noah, is in third grade.
Anello conducted experiments in the cafeteria midway through the event that could be replicated at home, including bubble magic, bouncing bubbles in students’ hands, blowing bubbles inside bubbles, making square bubbles and creating bubble snakes for bubble baths. Next, she used balloons to demonstrates how to float with static; pierced balloons with a skewer and created screaming balloons with coins and hex nuts. She then filled various Erlenmeyer flasks with the makings of elephant toothpaste, which explodes in foam.
“I started this event last year to get families engaged with their children and learn some science,” Anello said. “Hopefully, I can contribute to a lifetime love of learning how things work or at least spark the imagination of a future scientist. Building engagement with our school is my primary goal. We are blessed to have committed administrators Matt Cook, superintendent; Krista Lewis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction; and Principal Susan Achiille, who were all there and also a large part of why this event is even possible. Ultimately, I strive to get Lincoln and Kelley schools involved with this event and construct a connection between schools and our community. I have a deep love for Newark, and I will continue to work toward making our town and schools better.”
Newark’s Ruffalo Enterprises exhibited at Family Science Night with its mascot, Droplet, and demonstrated its water filtration process with its equipment.
“Its expertise in the field was great for both parents and students alike to see in action, and the kids really enjoyed seeing Droplet,” said PTA treasurer Michele DeYulio, who helped plan the event with Anello and Kate Coons, PTA membership chair.
DeYulio’s sons Anthony is a second-grader at Perkins and Nicholas is a third-grader at Kelley School. Coons’ sons Ben is a kindergartener and Nicholas is a second-grader at Perkins.
“I think Family Science Night was very interactive, which is great for elementary school aged kids,” DeYulio said. “They can touch, create, look, experiment and hypothesize about things all on their own. Making everything more physically engaging helps to make science more fun. There are always unexpected outcomes or happy accidents that can turn out to be really amazing. Kids could discover this in the geology exhibit, with the magnificent rocks that were on display or with the volcanoes that required different amounts of solutions in order to make them erupt. The students seemed to really enjoy the variety of experiment stations we had, and the fact that most of the experiments can be replicated at home makes this something that extends past the one-night event and will help to continue the learning process and excitement for the sciences in the future.”