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LES students discover merits of science

POSTED: November 10, 2007 5:01 a.m.
Liberty Elementary School students were wowed with a lively science presentation Oct. 19 when the National Science Center Fort Discovery bus stopped for a visit.
“Science from a textbook could be a little boring, so we’re going to make it fun,” Sgt. Almaguer, the Fort Discovery bus instructor, said as he greeted the students.
“(This is) Not the Magic School Bus. We’re not going to shrink,” Almaguer said, trying to get the elementary students to contain their excitement and not yell during the 45-minute presentation that included music and turning off the lights.
Students saw what sound waves look like through an acoustic glass bender machine.
As the music increased, students watched the glass bend back and forth, then suddenly crack.
After the demonstration, Almaguer assured students the inside of their ears would not break when they listen to loud music. He said the muscles in the ear were made to stay tight but stretch when exposed to loud noise. When the muscles are stretched, they do not return to their original form, causing hearing loss.
With the new understanding of how sound works, Almaguer gave the children some advice for the next time they listen to their iPods or MP3 players.
“Try to turn the music down a little so you don’t lose your hearing,” he said.
The second half of the demonstration showcased static electricity. Students proved they knew what static electricity was and gave examples of how to make it.
Almaguer called for volunteers to touch the plasma ball and static. With the lights off, students could clearly see the electric charges dancing in the ball.
“Let’s see if you’re a bright student,” Almaguer said.
With the volunteer still touching the plasma ball, students watched in awe as a light rod was waved around the student and illuminated. They learned how the energy was transferred from the plasma ball through the student to make the light rod work.  
The bus-turned classroom was in uproar with laughter when a student volunteer’s hair stand on ends after touching the static generator.
Those who answered questions were awarded pencils for their participation.
The Discovery Bus is a sponsored by a partnership with the Army and the National Science Center.
Dr. Terri Kelly, the school’s computer lab teacher, organized the event after the school’s former principal took the teachers on a field trip to the center’s base in Augusta.
The Discovery Bus is a miniature mobile version of the center.
“Every time they come through the door, they talk about what happened, This was fun, that was fun (the children said),” Kelly said.
 

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