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Having a good time with science

Liberty Elementary Discover Night for students, parents

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POSTED: September 24, 2013 9:00 a.m.
Photo by Randy C. Murray/

Robert Clark, 7, sits in Georgia Southern University's mechanical engineering department's race car.

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Liberty Elementary School had its second annual Science Discovery Night on Thursday evening. Event organizer Ashley Striplin said the event was open to Liberty Elementary students and other students in the community, including middle- and high-schoolers.
“We have crafts and experiments from all the sciences — biology, botany, physical science, astrology, robotics and physics,” said Striplin, a Title 1 teacher and Science Club supervisor.
Principal Chris Anderson said the event was called Discovery Night because it was supported not only by school staff, but also local businesses, government agencies and higher education. Colleges that manned booths with experiments or crafts included Georgia Southern, Savannah State, Armstrong Atlantic State University and the University of Georgia Extension Office. Businesses included SNF Chemtal and Georgia Power.
Also supporting the event were the Liberty County Sanitation Department and Mosquito Control, Coastal EMC, Savannah Children’s Museum, Hinesville Police Department, Keeping Liberty Beautiful, Society of Women in Engineering and the Coastal Heritage Society.
“We hope this event helps students discover a love for science,” Anderson said. “Because the event may cause some students to develop an interest in science, it may also help them want to increase their math and reading skills. Who knows? It might lead some to become interested in engineering.”
The school gym served as the go-to place for teacher-led experiments. The first table was an unusual craft made from a plastic cup and string. Striplin said it was called “chicken in a cup” because pulling on the string produced a sound like a chicken clucking.
At a nearby table, teacher Natalie Mondesier and volunteers from the Target Distribution Center were measuring then adding baking soda to bottles and adding vinegar. As the mixture began to produce bubbles, they slipped a balloon over the mouth of the bottle. The gas quickly filled the balloon. Students and their parents asked to see the experiment repeated.
The next table over featured another experiment that involved a balloon, but also required a CD and the top of a dish-liquid bottle. Striplin said the top was glued to the CD. Once it had dried, a balloon was stretched over the top. Sisters Foy and Christene Lett, ages 9 and 6, respectively, blew through the hole from the other side of the CD.
While pitching off the balloon to keep the air from escaping, they placed the CD flat on the table. When the balloon was released, the CD floated across the table like a hovercraft.
A child’s swimming pool was the basis of an experiment called “Big Bubble.” The pool was filled with bubble soap. Each child removed his or her shoes and stepped into the pool. A hula-hoop that was slightly smaller than the circumference of the pool was then lifted slowly by teacher Susan Battyanyi. As the hoop rose, a large bubble stretched with it. The bubble tended to burst before it reached the child’s shoulders.
The bubble was more cooperative for Destiny Deigh, 5, than it was for Jordan Barnes, 9. His bubble tended to break before it reached his knees.
Two of the more popular experiments were the dry-ice experiment and one called “flubber,” in which the students made a slick, spongy goop they could stretch or mold. Students waited in line to watch Target volunteer Adam Chandler make smoke rise out of a glass flask. Nearby, 7-year-old Nicholas Dauro carried his flubber goop around on an ice-cream stick, showing it to his friends.
“He loves science,” his mother, Christine Dauro, said. “He loves to do experiments at home. He likes to build things with his Legos and play with reptiles.”
Other experiments included one conducted by Liz Comparetto for the Liberty County Sanitation Department and a Baja race car on display by Georgia Southern’s Mechanical Engineering Department. Seven-year-old Robert Clark gleefully sat in the seat of the car, turning the steering wheel while making race car engine noises. GSU senior Carter Hollis said the gas-engine, single-cylinder car can do up to 65 mph.


 

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