Glyndale Elementary’s students laughed, screamed and gasped throughout the entirety of the traveling science show that took place at the school on Thursday.
And behind them, two fifth-grade teachers, Angela Spencer and Jeanne Falken, were noting how the experiments could be brought back to their own classrooms.
“This is very exciting, because it will also take the fifth-grade students to another level in science,” Spencer said. “Because a lot of the stuff about motion and gravity, they’re going to learn in sixth grade as well.”
Catrena Lisse, director of Georgia College’s Science Education Center, lead the interactive magic show on Thursday. The show is part of an initiative called “STEMing into the Community,” a program launched in Milledgeville to spark students’ curiosity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The shows feature hands-on experiments and take-home activities. There were moments of bewilderment, when the students watched styrofoam cups melt before their eyes and when a ping pong ball seemed to defy gravity, as well as moments of great suspense, such as when the students waited in silence for caps to explode off bottles.
“I love doing these shows in gymnasiums and outdoors, because schools tend not to invite us back if we blow holes in their ceiling,” Lisse said.
Safety lessons were laced throughout the show, encouraging students to wear goggles and to seek supervision when conducting experiments.
“You always have to be safe with science,” Lisse said. “If you hurt yourself, you’re not going to love science anymore.”
The demonstrations are aligned with state performance standards, and Spencer said her class just completed a unit on solids and liquids. Those lessons were coming alive in front of them at the show, she said.
“We don’t actually have a science lab here,” Spencer said. “So to be able to see it hands-on, it brings it more to life for the kids.”
For the shows, Lisse travels with a small group of Georgia College chemistry majors — and they all wear rainbow lab coats that add to the event’s festive theme.
The group will put on 18 shows from March 18 to March 24.
Spencer said the show’s goal — to spark student interest in the STEM subjects — proved successful at Glyndale.
“I believe that every student here wants to do this — put on a lab coat, wear the safety goggles, get their hands in there and do things the right way with science,” she said. “I think it makes it a whole lot more fun for them.”