04/18/12 — Kits making science fun for Rosewood third-graders

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Kits making science fun for Rosewood third-graders

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 18, 2012 1:46 PM

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Rosewood Elementary third-grader Summer Gainey looks through the binder inside of her science kit as Marrisa Burriss looks on.

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Rosewood Elementary third-grader Raul Santibanez writes down the number of his science kit.

Logan Merritt sifted through items in a large red plastic container on the table before him.

It held three things -- an empty gallon milk jug, an elongated gray foam tube and some marbles.

"We're going to be putting the marbles in the tube, try to move the tube, put the jug on the ground, and put the marbles in there and try to make them come through," explained the third-grader at Rosewood Elementary School.

The experiment is just one of a dozen that will be featured at Thursday's "Science Night" for third-graders at the school.

Teacher Glenda Jernigan is especially excited about the event, which is part of the N.C. Science Festival.

"The N.C. Science Festival takes place all over the state," she explained. "To extend this throughout the state, UNC made science kits available."

Several months ago, she applied for a Thorp Science Night kit from UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Her school was one of 50 schools in the state, and the only one in Wayne County, to be awarded one of the kits.

"We didn't know what we were getting," she said. "We didn't know what the activities were."

So on Tuesday, she began opening the box and explaining to some of the students about the upcoming activities.

Twelve science stations will be set up in the school's gymnasium Thursday evening, she said, with a variety of hands-on activities related to STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math.

"We have been studying science all year long in preparation for Science Night," she said. "This is not something we have been teaching them beforehand.

"When they walk in (to the gymnasium) they'll pretty much walk in with their families cold. Everything will be explained to them. The point is to get these children and their families to understand that science is fine, math is fun, engineering is fun, technology is fun."

The 125 third-graders at the school, along with their families, are encouraged to attend the event and, hopefully, Ms. Jernigan said, come away with a greater appreciation for science.

"We want them to walk in and go, 'Oh, wow!'" she said.

The actual experiments and activities remain a surprise, but Ms. Jernigan did provide a few hints.

One station will feature bubbles -- specifically, blowing bubbles with "just your hands" or by making "cool shapes" by designing a wand.

Then there is one called "elephant toothpaste," dealing with the reaction of yeast and hydrogen peroxide.

Students will also get to create their own "genes bracelet," an exercise in DNA, represented on a personalized bracelet.

Logan said he is looking forward to "playing the games and learning more stuff."

"I like science because it's very interesting and what you can learn every day," he said.

Classmate Raul Santibanez said he has already practiced doing some experiments of his own at home.

"What I like about science is, like, there's a lot of stuff that you can make and it can do other stuff and be cool," he said.

Ms. Jernigan agreed, perfectly content not to spoil their fun by telling them this is all part of education.

"We have a standard course of study," she said. "Each grade level teaches certain fundamental ideas. We build on those from kindergarten up.

"(Science Night) will use skills that these children have already learned."

And best of all, she added, the school gets to keep all the materials from the kits, as well as directions and shopping lists for items, for future use.